Oil firm fined Rs 25 lakh, for flouting green norms
CHENNAI: The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal, invoking the 'Polluter Pays' principle, has fined an oil import and supply company Rs 25 lakh for defying environmental norms.
The president of NGO Meenavar Nala Sangam had filed a petition in November, 2016 against oil storage units of KTV OIL Private Ltd and KTV Foods Ltd in Royapuram. The petition made 12 entities respondents in the matter. These included Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), Tamil Nadu Coastal Authority, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and state department of industries.
The NGO's counsel, M Shreedhar, said KTV imported palm oil from Malaysia, which it supplied to smaller firms in the city. It directed the imported oil from the Royapuram harbour to storage units through a 5km underground pipeline that bisected the Royapuram highway. The company constructed the storage units without permission from CMDA.
"It operated the units in violation of environmental rules for eight years," Shreedhar said, adding that KTV appeared to have constructed the units and then tried to obtain licences for them. The units were in a fishing area and a spill could result in large scale environmental destruction, he said. After a tribunal-appointed advocate commissioner confirmed the firm operated the units without permission, NGT stayed its operations.
An NGT bench of judicial member Justice P Jyothimani and expert member R Nagendran said KTV purchased the land on which it operated and planned additional units. But it failed to obtain Environmental Clearance (EC) and Coastal Regulatory Zone go-aheads from the National Coastal Zone Management Authority.
During the case, KTV built three oil storage tanks and was proceeding on another, within a park. Without the EC and CRZ clearances, the constructions were in "total violation" of law, the bench said.