Home Daily News Odisha Pollution Control Board Closure Order for Jindal’s Angul power plant

Odisha Pollution Control Board Closure Order for Jindal’s Angul power plant

by Nita Mishra

Orissa High Court recently intervened in a case involving the closure order issued by the Odisha Pollution Control Boardfor the thermal power plant of Jindal India Thermal Power (JITP){Jindal’s Angul power plant} in Angul. The court emphasized the importance of striking a balance between environmental protection and the practical challenges faced by industries.

Judicial Observation: Balancing Rules and Realities

Justice SK Panigrahi, presiding over the single-judge bench, highlighted the need to avoid rigid adherence to procedural rules at the expense of their underlying purpose. The court stressed the significance of maintaining a balance between structured regulations and flexibility to achieve more effective outcomes. This observation came while issuing an interim stay on the closure order and scheduling further deliberation on July 25, along with a response from the SPCB.

SPCB’s Closure Order and Court’s Response

The SPCB had directed the immediate cessation of all operations at the thermal power plant, citing concerns over wastewater discharge into Kaudia Nallah, a tributary of the Tikira River. However, Justice Panigrahi deemed this action disproportionate, considering JITP’s substantial compliance efforts and assurances regarding the non-hazardous nature of the discharged water.

The court emphasized the need to consider practical realities faced by businesses while addressing environmental issues, advocating for a balanced approach.

Integral Role of Thermal Power Plants

In the interim order, Justice Panigrahi underscored the significance of thermal power plants in meeting the state’s energy demands, particularly during peak periods like the summer months. These plants not only contribute significantly to electricity supply but also support the livelihoods of numerous workers and their families.

Legal Arguments and Proposed Measures

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing JITP, argued that the closure notice was issued hastily without a thorough examination of the situation. It was asserted that measures were in place to treat runoff water effectively and prevent untreated water from entering Kaudia Nallah. JITP is also in the process of constructing a dedicated stormwater drainage system to further enhance environmental compliance.

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