The Southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the Union government, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State-owned power company Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) India, following a petition filed ‑ demanding proper disposal of hazardous substances while decommissioning a plant.
The petitioner Dharmesh Shah, who is an environmental activist, has stated that there are lack of effective guidelines for scientific decommissioning of thermal power plants. This can lead to non-disposal of remaining fly ash and other hazardous substances used during operation.
The petitioner stated that in such a scenario, project owners often prioritize economic concerns over environment, leaving the plant sites environmentally unsafe. The power plant in question is located in Neyveli and has been operational since 1962.
Shah has also sought that the Central or State Pollution Control Boards to ensure that decommissioning is done in an internationally accepted, scientific manner, to prevent the contamination of water, air and soil. The petitioner also appealed to the court to direct the respondents to place the decommissioning process on record.
In response, the bench comprising Justice K Ramakrishan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta said,