National Green Tribunal holds LG Polymers Strictly & Absolutely Liable For Gas Leak And Environmental Damage

Team SoOLEGAL 4 Jun 2020 5:02pm

National Green Tribunal holds LG Polymers Strictly & Absolutely Liable For Gas Leak And Environmental Damage

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) stated that LG Polymers India bears absolute responsibility for the loss of life induced by a gas leak at its Visakhapatnam factory. An amount of Rs. 50 crores which has been deposited by the Company as penalty, will be used towards part liability and interim compensation is supposed to be spent on environmental restoration and victim compensation in accordance with the restoration plan to be prepared.

Referring to an inspection report prepared by a committee appointed by the NGT, a Bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said “The committee has opined that the company did not take proper care of the storage tank resulting in auto polymerization of styrene releasing excess heat which escaped from the goose-neck and dip hatch in the form of vapour.”

The Bench further observed that the company has acted without Environmental Clearance (EC) and the State Pollution Control Board on account of its ignorance of law or otherwise gave ‘Consent to Establish’ and ‘Consent to Operate’ in violation of law.’ There is a violation of Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical (Amendment) Rules, 1989. The Company's liability is strict and absolute under the legislation. The burden of proof is on the company to show that it has no liability. The overwhelming material establishes the company's liability. Accordingly, the amount deposited must be appropriated for part liability and interim compensation subject to further directions after giving the company further chance.

The NGT has ordered the committee of representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF & CC), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and officials from the state government to formulate a restore proposal within two months. It ordered the chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh to take action against individuals liable for authorizing the unit to function in violation of law.

Tagged: LG Polymers   National Green Tribunal   Gas Leak   Environmental Damage   Visakhapatnam factory   Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel  
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