NGT sets up panel to inspect Mayapuri scrap market

The National Green Tribunal has set up a six-member committee to conduct an inspection of the Mayapuri scrap market.

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has set up a six-member committee to conduct an inspection of the Mayapuri scrap market here to find out steps taken by the government to prevent recurrence of the 2010 radiation leak incident in which one person died.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and added it as a party to the case on an oral plea made by the petitioner, Delhi-resident S C Jain.

"The Ministry of Environment and Forests is not a party to this petition. At the oral request of the applicant we implead the MoEF as respondent 6. Counsel appearing for the MoEF accepts notice," the bench said.

Jain in his petition has claimed that despite the April 2010 radiation leak, authorities have been unable to present any effective steps they have taken to prevent such an incident from happening again.

One person had died and seven people were injured after they were exposed to radiation when they cut open a Cobalt-60 irradiator at the scrap market.

The tribunal set up the committee "to ensure the true and correct facts" are brought on record so that an effective order can be passed.

"The committee shall conduct an inspection of the entire D-Block, Scrap Market, Mayapuri within two weeks from today and without notice to any of the occupants of that area," the bench said.

The panel, headed by Secretary, Environment NCT of Delhi, shall also comprise of one representative each from the MoEF, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and MCD as well as a scientific officer nominated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission.

The panel has been tasked with finding out within two weeks as to how the hazardous waste is being disposed of by the occupants of the scrap market and whether they have obtained authorisation for the same.

The panel has to submit its report on or before the next date of hearing on April 29.

The committee will also ascertain if any radioactive material is present in the market and if yes, then find out its effect on the people living in and around that area.

The tribunal has also directed the panel to find out the current status of the persons who were adversely affected by the radioactive leak in 2010.

The government and the authorities concerned, including those from the MoEF, have been directed to state steps taken by them in the last three years and their proposals to ensure prevention and control of such materials which adversely affect environment.

Meanwhile, the DDA has been asked to file an affidavit clearly stating if "it has any plan to shift this market from the present location to any other location".

The Cobalt-60 irradiator at the scrap market was traced to the Chemistry Department of the Delhi University and, subsequently, the Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against six professors accusing them of endangering lives by auctioning the irradiator without mandatory precautions.

The case is still pending in the trial court.


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