National Green Tribunal has issued contempt notices to Uttar Pradesh government and other authorities on a plea seeking action against illegal manufacturing, storage and transportation of ethanol by distilleries and sugar mills in the state.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar sought response from Akhilesh Yadav government, Principal Secretary, Department of Excise and Excise Commissioner of UP, Chief Controller of Explosives and others for non-compliance of its May 9 order asking all sugar mills without requisite licence to stop alcohol production.
Contempt notices have also been issued against Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, Indian Sugar Mill Association and National Cooperative of Sugar Factories Ltd. The matter is scheduled for hearing on October 6.
The order came on a contempt plea filed by NGO SAFE alleging that the authorities were allowing illegal operation of ethanol producing units without license and in contravention of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules 1989, putting lives at grave risk.
It has also referred to UP government’s affidavit and contended that only two of the 35 distilleries had requisite license while the others were manufacturing ethanol illegally.
“The industries manufacturing absolute alcohol or ethanol were not only operating illegally without the requisite permission from competent authorities, but also manipulating the actual total production, storage and sales figures of absolute alcohol causing not only huge financial loss to state revenue but also jeopardising safety of people and environment,” the NGO said in its contempt plea.
The NGT on May 9 had directed that no manufacturer will produce absolute alcohol without seeking appropriate permission from the Ministry of Commerce, Chief Controller Explosives and other authorities.
“It is in view of the fact that under the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 and Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules 1996 as notified under the provision of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 such permission is required,” the tribunal had said.
The direction was passed while disposing of the plea seeking closure of all the ethanol units operating without the permission or not complying with provisions as specified under 1989 Rules.