Courts Update NGT directs Delhi Chief Secretary to constitute a special...

NGT directs Delhi Chief Secretary to constitute a special task force to check illegal industrial units, godowns

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New Delhi Sept 10(ILNS): The National Green Tribunal–Principal Bench today directed the Chief Secretary, Delhi to constitute a Special Task Force (STF) to check illegal industrial activities and godowns in residential/non-conforming areas and to check necessary safety measures in other areas also, where there is a potential for fire incidents.

The Tribunal took cognizance of the matter on the basis of a media report appearing in The Indian Express dated July 12, 2021, titled “Six killed in factory fire: Owner held, raids on to nab the second accused”.

“We are informed that the STFs as proposed have yet to be constituted zone-wise. There is a need for urgent action in the matter to save human lives which are endangered by such incidents. Adequate and effective monitoring mechanisms and vigilance may certainly help the situation. The State is under obligation to do so. In fact, this is an inalienable State function to ensure public safety.“

Udyog Nagar fire which killed 6 workers

A shoe and garment manufacturing unit was being run in West Delhi at Udyog Nagar and as a result of a massive fire inside the factory, six workers died. In all, 12 workers were trapped of whom six were rescued. Over 30 fire tenders were sent to the spot and 140 fire-fighters took more than six hours to control the fire.

The tribunal sent advance notice of hearing on 22.07.2021 was given by the office to Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), District Magistrate, West Delhi, Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health, Delhi.

Accordingly, a Joint Committee of CPCB, DPCC, District Magistrate, West Delhi, Director, Industrial Safety and Health and DCP, Outer Delhi was directed to ascertain the cause of the incident, the status of compliance with the provisions of Water Act, Air Act and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 or any other relevant laws on the subject and remedial measures for compensating the victims and steps to prevent such incident in future.

The Tribunal heard learned District Magistrate who is present in person and learned Counsel appearing for the DPCC and CPCB. According to the report, the Committee held meetings with the concerned officers and ascertained the details of the persons who lost their lives.

Ensure compensation reaches heirs of deceased: Tribunal

The Tribunal observes that the deceased having been identified in the report and a part of the compensation has been paid based on satisfaction about the genuineness of their identity, there is no reason to delay disbursement of the remaining compensation awaiting further evidence about identity.

“Liberty is given to deposit the amount with the office of Member Secretary Delhi State Legal Services Authority or to pay the same to the heirs of the deceased. We request the Delhi State Legal Services Authority to facilitate the process and necessary legal aid may be provided to the heirs of the victims so as to ensure that compensation reaches the heirs and the compensation amount is not in any manner squandered away in the process.“

The Tribunal also observes another case of fire incident resulting in the charring of a person to death at Pratap Nagar at North Delhi has been dealt with by this Tribunal on 31.08.2021 in OA No. 65/2021, In re: News item published in The Times of India dated 28.02.2021 titled “Delhi: Man charred to death as illegal factory catches fire.”/ILNS/KR/SNG

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