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NGT directs authorities to cover all poultry farms over 5,000 birds by guidelines for environment protection

ANI | Updated: Dec 14, 2021 18:40 IST

New Delhi [India], December 14 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday directed the concerned authorities that all poultry farms with more than 5,000 birds will be covered under the guidelines for environmental protection.
"At best some time can be given for regulation in a phased manner as proposed in March 2021 proposed guidelines. Accordingly, we direct that while the impugned guidelines are immediately enforced, all poultry farms with more than 5,000 birds will also be covered by the said guidelines latest from January 1, 2023. The criteria should apply to all consents or renewals hereafter for the above size of the poultry farms," the NGT bench headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
The NGT was hearing an application filed by Gauri Maulekhi. The grievance in the application was against the inadequacy of the regulatory regime by way of the Consent mechanism under the Water and the Air Acts to prevent degradation of the environment on account of the unregulated operation of poultry farms.
The matter was earlier governed by the Guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to all State PCBs or PCCs under the Water and the Air Acts dated December 20, 2015.
The applicant had approached the Tribunal pointing out the adverse impact of the operation of the unregulated operation of poultry farms on the environment.

The Tribunal, after noting the pollution potential in running of the poultry farms, had found the earlier guidelines issued by the CPCB, limiting the regulatory regime only to poultry farms handling more than one lakh birds at a single location, inadequate and need to revisit the same so as to extend such regulatory regime to poultry farms with more than 5,000 birds.
The Water Act, the Air Act, and the Environment (Protection) Act have been enacted in the wake of international conventions and override all other legislations.
Earlier, the NGT has noted that the operation of poultry farms has the potential to damage the environment which needs to be regulated and directed the CPCB to revisit the guidelines for categorizing the poultry farms as green category and exempting their regulation under the Air Act, Water Act and the EP Act.
Senior Advocate, Raj Panjwani has submitted that there is no justification for exempting poultry farms below 25000 birds even after this Tribunal held that all poultry farms above 5,000 birds were required to be brought under the consent mechanism and even after proposing such regulation in March 2021 guidelines, based on the expert study, as noted earlier.
"Observation that poultry farms with less than 25,000 birds are run by small farmers in the unorganized sector is untenable and against the Precautionary Principle of environmental law, as already held by the Tribunal vide order dated September 16, 2020, referred to above, that regulation of all poultry farms beyond 5000 birds is necessary," the NGT said.
"To this extent, the decision of CPCB is against the decision of this Tribunal and against precautionary principle. A person running a poultry farm of more than 5000 birds cannot be said to be a small farmer nor their pollution potential left unregulated," the NGT said.
CPCB may issue revised guidelines to all the State PCBs or PCCs in terms of the above order within one month, the NGT said. (ANI)