Court Fines Regulator for Delaying Documents on Coca-Cola
October 3, 2016

New Delhi: Noting the "indifferent conduct" of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) officers, the National Green Tribunal has slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 on it for not submitting documents relating to beverages major Coca Cola’s Hapur plant in Uttar Pradesh.

A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim pulled up the UPPCB counsel for not complying with NGT orders asking the Board to submit documents relating to sewage treatment plants, Consent to Establish and Consent to Operate, permissions given under Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 etc. to the soft drink unit.

"We notice that there is indifferent conduct of the officers of the UPPCB in compliance to our directions. It has certainly caused impediment in this proceedings. Counsel representing the Board submits that he will obtain further instructions from the Board and make his submission.

"We do not find any justification for such lapse and hence, we impose a cost of Rs 20,000 on UPPCB for not complying with the order referred to above. However, we give them one week’s time to file affidavit as ordered earlier," the bench, also comprising Expert Member Ranjan Chatterjee, said.

The matter has now been fixed for hearing on November 16.

Coca Cola had earlier told the tribunal that its Hapur plant in Uttar Pradesh was ready to lift and transfer untreated effluent behind its unit, after a plea alleged that it was discharging waste in a nearby pond.

The green panel had ordered re-inspection by Central Pollution Control Board and UPPCB after going through the report of a court commissioner which found "openings" and "leakages" at a few spots in the boundary wall of the plant.

Earlier, the NGT had appointed an advocate as commissioner to inspect the premises of the beverages major after a plea had alleged that the plant was releasing untreated effluents into the pond situated on the back side of the factory area-UPSIIDC Wide Park Land.

The counsel for Coca Cola had refuted the claims and asked the tribunal to appoint local commissioner to inspect the site in question and submit correct facts with regard to the boundary wall of the company.

The tribunal had issued notice to the company last year after finding "alarming facts" in an inspection report of Central Pollution Control Board.

The NGT was hearing a plea by one Sanjay Kumar seeking restraint on the alleged illegal discharge of untreated waste water into the pond situated behind the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd’s plant in Hapur.

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