New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday asked all the states and Union Territories to consider enforcing the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) prohibiting the use of pet coke and furnace oil by the industry in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Asking the states and UTs to voluntarily enforce the MoEF and CPCB order banning the use of pet coke and furnace oil in three states adjoining the national capital, the bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said that the pollution caused by the pet coke and furnace oil was not limited to the National Capital Region but affected other states as well.
MoEF on November 15 had asked the CPCB to ban the use of pet coke and furnace oil in three states and on that day CPCP issued direction prohibiting their use by the industry in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
“We may note that pollution caused by pet coke and furnace oil is not a problem confined only to the NCR region but appears to be a problem faced by almost all the States and Union Territories in the country,” the court said in its order on Friday.
The court made it clear that for the present it was not issuing any direction to any other State or UT.
“For the present, we do not propose to give any direction to any other State and Union Territory but we request all the State Governments and Union Territories to consider taking similar measures as have been taken by the Government of India and the Chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,” the court said in its order.
Asking the States and UTs to act suo motu and ban the use of pet coke and furnace oil as it was polluting the air, the court asked the Centre to consider suggestion by the amicus curiae Harish Salve for banning the sale of pet coke and furnace oil as fuel.
Salve told the court that mere banning was not producing the desired results as people engaged in industry were using them as fuel when not being watched by the enforcement agencies.
Salve told the court that big companies were involved in the sale of pet coke and furnace oil and once there is ban by the court and the government then enforcing it would be easy.
“Implementation becomes a big problem when you ban the usage. They (industry) buy it and when checked they don’t use it. If you say don’t use it, you are down to (inspecting) each furnace,” Salve said asking the court to target the big source.
Telling the court that he would take instructions and get back to the court on next hearing, Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni said that the “banning the import of pet coke and furnace oil is under consideration”.
Amicus Curiae Salve made an application seeking direction to ban the import of pet coke and furnace oil and confine the use of domestic pet coke for the sole purpose of feedstock.
The court issued notice on an application by Salve seeking direction that power plants in NCR should be fuelled by natural gas and it should be made available in sufficient quantity.
Noting that based on the different orders of the top court, funds running into “hundreds of crores if not thousands crores” have been collected under various heads, the court on Friday said that all should be collated so that “there is a proper utilisation of these funds”.
The court asked ASG Nadkarni, senior counsel Vijay Panjwani appearing for CPCB and amicus curiae Aprajita Singh to sit and identify the heads and the amount collected so that they can be properly utilised.
The next hearing of the matter is on December 4.
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