India

TNIE Effect: Lokayukta directs officials to check water pollution by Mangalore refinery

By Naveen Bharat Editorial

BENGALURU: Automatic start of proceedings after a story called “Title”Oily discharge from Mangaluru refinery polluting water bodieson page 1 of The Naveen Bharat On October 1, 2021, Karnataka Lokayukta directed the concerned authorities to take immediate steps to stop the discharge of waste materials into water bodies by Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.

Published in “New TNIEIn my view, in exercise of the powers conferred under sections 7(1)(b) and 9(3)(a) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, can be treated as source material for taking suo motu cognizance. Accordingly, Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanath Shetty said in the order, the office is directed to register this as a proceeding of suo motu.

Mentioned TNIEThe story of which highlighted the discharge of black oil water into storm water by Mangaluru Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), resulting in contaminated water flowing into Thokur stream and Falguni river, rendering the water unable to be used by the local people People protested extensively. Justice Shetty said the story highlights that the local people are facing this problem for the last six years.

“If what has been highlighted is true, it indicates to me that there is a disregard for the duty of the public servants of the State, who are required to stop the discharge of waste materials into water bodies. The right to a healthy environment and pollution-free water is a part of the right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India”, the Lokayukta said.

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Referring to several Supreme Court judgments regarding the role to be played by the Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate to protect the environment, the Lokayukta said that the concerned officers not only have the responsibility and duty to prevent the discharge of pollutant substances. areas of water bodies and neighboring landowners, but they also have a duty and obligation to assess and compensate the damages caused to members of the public due to the discharge of waste materials.

Referring to the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and the Water Act, the Lokayukta said that the KSPCB has been entrusted with the responsibility of taking effective steps to prevent environmental pollution, not only to initiate and prevent criminal prosecution against the owner of the polluting industry. . The functioning of the industry by giving necessary instructions. However, as can be seen from the news published in TNIEThe Lokayukta said that the KSPCB has failed to take effective steps to check water pollution and has also failed to take appropriate steps to prevent the discharge of pollutant substances.

Taking note of the story, Lokayukta directed the Registry to implicate the Deputy Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada District, Commissioner of Mangaluru City Corporation, Member Secretary, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Senior Environment Officer, KSPCB, Mangaluru, Tehsildar, Dakshina. Gave. Kannada and MRPL, as respondents for the purpose of investigation and issue notice to them.

The Lokayukta directed the submission of steps taken to prevent pollution and status report by November 4, 2021, the next date of hearing, saying it need not indicate that there is a statutory obligation on its part. The state should take effective steps to prevent environmental pollution. “In my view, the issues raised in TNIE And the comments made by me in the order require immediate attention of the state”, the Lokayukta said.

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