Shillong, Aug 25: As many as 26 coke oven plants are not operational as they are yet to get clearance on consent to establish and consent to operate norms.
Many applicants of coke plants have been impleaded in the proceedings in High Court of Meghalaya pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court on June 27.
The matter came up for hearing on Thursday.
It was submitted on behalf of such parties that though a blanket closure of all coke oven plants in the state had apparently been recommended by Justice Katakey and it was directed to be implemented by this court in an order passed on May 24, the matter pertaining to coke oven plants finds reference, inter alia, at paragraphs 3.17, 3.18 and 3.19 of the third interim report filed by Justice Katakey on August 9.
At paragraph 3.18 of the report it is recorded that the state informed the single-member committee that none of the 26 coke oven plants in the state “is presently in operation.”
The state also informed the committee that the certificates signifying consent to establish (CTE) and the further certificates permitting such coke oven plants to operate (CTO) have not been issued or are no longer valid and the 26 coke oven plants cannot commence any activity without obtaining the CTOs; just as no new coke oven plant can operate without obtaining the CTE.
Paragraph 3.19 of the third interim report records ” In any case, in the absence of the CTE and CTO none of the aforesaid 26 coke oven plants can start its operation, which,if done, would be in violation of the provisions of the environmental laws.
”The 26 added parties seeking to operate coke oven plants in the state submit that they accept the position as indicated at paragraph 3.19 of the said report. However, it is submitted on their behalf that nothing in the recommendations made by Justice Katakey or any order passed by this court in the present proceedings should stand in the way of such parties applying for and obtaining due permission or license or appropriate certificate to establish or operate coke oven plants in accordance with law”.
It is the further submission on behalf of the 26 added parties that the conditions for obtaining permission or license to operate coke oven plants have been altered by the state to the detriment of all those intending to operate coke oven plants and, as such, a writ petition has been instituted in this court challenging the norms issued by the State Pollution Control Board on December 23, 2020.
The court made it clear that the present proceedings will not stand in the way of any person interested in operating coke oven plants applying for and obtaining due permission in accordance with law from the appropriate authorities.
“It will also be open to the 26 added parties or such of them who have instituted the writ petition challenging the new norms to pursue the petition in accordance with law. The pendency of the present proceedings should not stand in the way of such writ petition being prosecuted”, the court said.
According to the court as a consequence of the directions issued pertaining to the 26 added parties, “such added parties have no further role in the proceedings and, as requested on their behalf, such 26 added parties are discharged from the present proceedings”, the court added.
Hence, the matter was disposed of by the court.