GPCB Ordered To Pay Rs 20 lakh Compensation To Farmer 

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GPCB Ordered To Pay Rs 20 lakh Compensation To Farmer 

| Updated: April 24, 2024 10:36

The farmer’s land was damaged because of pollution from a soda ash plant nearby

The Gujarat High Court has ordered Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to a farmer in Devbhoomi Dwarka district for the damage caused to his farmland because of pollution from a soda ash plant nearby. 

The GPCB had failed to act on repeated complaints by the farmer, Balubha Ker of Karunga village. A bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee ordered the recovery of the amount proportionately from the board officials since their inaction led to the pollution. The court also ordered the GPCB chairman to initiate an inquiry to fix responsibility on officials. 

Balubha had complained several times about the pollution caused by the soda ash plant of RSPL Ltd in 2018. However, the board did not act despite finding that pollution had  degraded the soil, raised salinity, and made the groundwater toxic. 

Farmer approaches court

Aggrieved by the inaction, Balubha approached the HC last year. He told the court that the plant discharged effluents into the Arabian Sea. Since no measures had been taken to control the pollution, his land had become infertile. After the HC pulled up the GPCB, it inspected the place and issued a closure notice to the soda ash plant.

However, the court observed that GPCB had failed to perform its duties under the Water Act and the Air Act. The court observed that the GPCB had not acted for more than three years, permitting the respondent company to continue releasing contaminated water into the petitioner’s land. Moreover, coal dusting in the surrounding area and undisposed solid waste were issues that had not been addressed.  

The judges ordered the board to compensate the farmer for damage caused to him, loss of his income from the land in question, mental harassment, as well as the legal expenditure incurred.

Also Read: Gujarat HC Imposes Rs 5,000 Fine On Lawyer For Repeated Failure To Represent Client

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