Vizag Gas Leak Tragedy: NGT Constitutes Committee, Directs Owner to Pay 50 Crores

In a suo moto case against the fateful incident of a chemical gas leak at Vizag, the National Green Tribunal constituted a five-member Committee to inspect the site and submit a report to it within ten days. The NGT instructed the committee to visit and inspect the site at the earliest; and submit its report before the next date.

NGT’s Observation

Among other things, the Tribunal observed that the gas leak resulted from a failure to comply with the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989. The rules require on-site and off-site emergency plans to ensure the prevention of damage. Moreover, the Tribunal opined that the statutory authorities responsible for authorizing and regulating such activities may be accountable for the failure.

Further, the NGT bench directed LG Polymers India Pvt. Ltd., owner of the plant, to deposit a sum of 50 Crore with the District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam. The bench comprised of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson, Justice Sheo Kumar Singh, Judicial Member, and Dr. Nagin Nanda, Expert Member. The Court issued notices to various stakeholders to provide them with an opportunity of hearing; before proceeding to provide statutory relief and compensation to the victims of “environmental damage”; as well as restitution of damage to property and environment.

Suo Moto Action by National Human Rights Commission

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission took suo moto cognizance of the incident of leakage of styrene gas in the State of Andhra Pradesh. According to the media, eight died and over five thousand others have fallen sick due to the leak. The matter has now been posted for consideration on May 18, 2020.