The National Green Tribunal instructed the state pollution authority and the district management of Kurukshetra at the beginning of this year to determine if the cooperative sugar mill, as well as the ethanol plant that is located there, cause environmental harm. The NGT, on November 4, approved a two-month extension of this same.
The decision was made in response to a request in which the plant in question was not complying with the environmental rules.
There was a report that the mill emits a lot of smoke and is creating black fly ash, which poses a risk to the health and safety of residents. Furthermore, the mill discharges industrial waste that has not been treated in open areas, contaminating groundwater. Therefore, the water that the locals consume to drink is becoming polluted. This complaint was received by the tribunal from an eminent group of sarpanches from the area.
"There is a Cooperative Sugar Mill in the area that runs an ethanol plant at Ladwa road, Shahabad-Markanda, Kurukshetra district. The unit is not maintaining environmental norms, emitting huge amounts of smoke and producing black fly ash, causing serious health hazards to the local people. The unit is also discharging industrial effluent without proper treatment, in the open land, causing contamination of groundwater, and this is also contaminating water used by villagers for drinking purposes," stated the petition of Gurdeep Singh, along with others.
Following the hearing in April, the NGT was able to say, "In our view, a substantial question relating to the environment due to implementation of scheduled enactment under NGT Act, 2010 has arisen, but before taking any further action in the matter, we find it appropriate to obtain a factual action taken report, for which, we constitute a joint committee comprising state PCB and district magistrate, Kurukshetra, who shall visit the site, collect relevant information and submit a factual report within two months."
"The status report dated 31.10.2023 filed by the district magistrate, Kurukshetra, states that both the units, i.e. Cooperative Sugar Mill and Ethanol Plant, are found to be lying closed due to it being the off-season and that the units are expected to start operation in November 2023. Given this, prayer has been made for granting two months to file the complete report after inspecting the units," was the text of the directive issued by NGT chairman Prakash Shrivastava, judicial magistrate Sudhir Agarwal, and expert member Dr A Senthil Vel. The next hearing regarding the matter will be scheduled for January 22.