The Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) was slapped by the Pollution Control Board, Assam, for Rs 2.04-crore penalty on for failing to comply with pollution control norms.
The fine was slapped after the PCBA detected that drilling operation in six well units in Geleky and Lakwa were either completed or in operation without installing any primary effluent treatment plants.
“During an inspection by officials of the regional laboratory cum office, Sivasagar, of the PCBA, it has been observed that there is seepage/leakage in the waste pits of the six wells. Waste pits were full of effluent and without having any treatment facility,” the PCBA letter to ONGC stated.
The PSU has been given a month’s time to pay the fine as well as take necessary measures for proper treatment of the effluent and drill cut in all the ongoing drill sites and arrange for reclamation of the completed drill sites.
The Supreme Court in an order on February 2017 had directed all effluent discharging units to install primary effluent treatment plants within three months. The PCBA had issued a public notice in newspapers asking all units to comply with the order. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in its order in February this year had directed levying of environmental compensation fine on all defaulting units for violating the apex court order.
The PCBA had served a show-cause notice to the ONGC in June, but the reply was not “based on facts and findings” carried out during July 6-8 by board officials. Analysis reports of samples collected during August 6-8 inspection by PCBA officials from different well sites found that parameters such as ‘oil and grease’ and ‘total suspended solids’ are beyond the permissible limits in all cases, which indicates “failure in pollution control measures”.
The total fine of Rs 2,04,90,000 was calculated based on a formula provided by the NGT. The PCBA has slapped show-cause notices on some 1,200 industries in the State that are operating without primary effluent treatment plants. Around 850 such violators were given closure notices. Currently, officials were verifying the status of these units