The National Green Tribunal has formed a five-member expert committee and directed it to submit a report on the ammonia gas leak incident at IFFCO plant in Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh.
A bench comprising NGT chairperson Justice A.K. Goel and Justice S.K. Singh constituted a committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), UPPCB, IIT Kanpur and District Magistrate of Prayagraj.
The tribunal also directed that an interim compensation of ₹ 2.5 lakh each be paid to the victims.
The District Magistrate, Prayagraj, may extend all logistic support for functioning of the Committee, the NGT said, adding that the panel may meet physically or by video conferencing and undertake visit to the site.
The committee has been asked to give report on causes of the gas leak, extent of damage, steps taken for compensation to victims and restitution of damaged property and environment.
The bench said the panel may also consider reports furnished in the similar incidents, available with the CPCB and particularly mention whether frequency of mock drills needs to be increased in the light of the incident in question.
“The committee will be at liberty to associate any other expert or institution. The Committee may interact with all concerned stakeholders. The committee may give its report within two months by e-mail,” it said.
The gas leakage that took place on December 22 at around 10:30 pm, however, was restricted and stopped in a short time, the fertiliser cooperative major had said in a statement.
The NGT had taken note of a Hindi newspaper report dated December 24, 2020.
Two officials of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) had died and its 16 other employees were injured in a major ammonia gas leak at the fertiliser major’s plant at Phulpur.
IFFCO said the accident took place as tie rods of an ammonia plunger pump suddenly broke and got detached leading to heavy ammonia leakage.
It ordered a technical investigation into the cause of the gas leakage, while Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered an administrative probe into the incident.
He also ordered a probe into the incident while announcing financial help of ₹ 4 lakh each to the family members of those who died in the incident.