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Sale of Fly Ash matter: NGT directs MoP not to enforce it's advisory allowing auction

ANI | Updated: Aug 27, 2022 17:41 IST

New Delhi [India] August 27 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday directed the Ministry of Power (MoP), the Government of India, not to implement its advisory dated February 22, 2022, directing all the Thermal Power Plants to provide fly ash to end users through a transparent bidding process.
The Tribunal Bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and Dr Afroz Ahmad in an order passer on August 25, 2022, directed that operation of advisory dated 22.02.2022 issued by respondent no. 4- Ministry of Power, Union of India, and letter dated 16.03.2022 sent by Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Ltd. shall not be enforced and shall remain in abeyance till further orders by this Tribunal to the contrary and the interim application is disposed of accordingly.
The bench also said, "We also consider the personal appearance of the duly authorized/ instructed Nodal Officers, not below the rank of Joint Secretary, from the MoEF & CC and MOP, GOI on the next date of hearing through VC or physically to be essential for producing the relevant documents regarding compliance with directions given by this Tribunal and Statutory and Constitutional Mandates and assisting this Tribunal in just and proper adjudication of the questions involved in the case and they are accordingly directed to remain present before this Tribunal on that date. List for further consideration on November 14, 2022"
The Tribunal has issued the said order on the petition of Amaravati Fly Ash Brick Manufacturers filed through Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal.
Meanwhile, appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Bansal argued that the MoP advisory dated 22.02.2022 is not only against the environment laws but is also in violation of its full bench order dated 18.01.2022 whereby the full bench of NGT had stayed the earlier advisory of MoP which granted the power to Thermal Power Plants to auction their fly ash.

The lawyer also alleged that the issuance of advisory despite a full bench order is a deliberate attempt to turn down the said direction issued by this Tribunal but is also counterproductive in promoting 100 per cent utilization of fly ash.
The petitioner further pleaded before the Tribunal that Thermal Power Plants are falsely claiming 100 per cent utilization of fly ash by manipulation of statistics by adding ash used for Dykes and Bund formation to the actual consumption of fly ash.
Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) also convert unused fly ash into a slurry and then pump the said ash slurry from their plants for which Thermal Power Plants have to spend huge money on pumping power cost, cost of water, wear and tear of ash pumping machines and pond maintenance cost etc. Fly ash consumed by user segment, be it cement, concrete or brick manufacturers, saves enormous costs to Thermal Power Plants, stated petitioner.
In its reply, the Ministry of Power submitted, "The Ministry of Environment of Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued a notification dated 31.12.2021 in supersession of all previous notifications, advisory dated 22.02.2022 has been issued by it in order to enforce the provisions of the notification dated 31.12.2021. Reply further stated that over the period of time from 1999 to 2021 in the period of 22 years, fly ash has now become a valuable commodity and it was felt necessary to monetize the sale of fly ash so that the tariff of electricity is kept as low as possible."
On that, NGT noted that Neither there is any averment in reply filed by MoP nor there is any material on record to show that MoP ever approached this Tribunal by filing an application for review for modification of any of its directions or filed any appeal before Supreme Court for setting aside/modifying the same. Therefore, MoP was bound to comply with the directions given by this Tribunal vide above referred order dated 18.01.2022, said the order.
Bansal argued that instead of mentioning any progress regarding compliance with the full bench order dated 22.02.2022 and implementation of the Fly Ash Management And Utilization Mission for much-needed speedy utilization/ disposal of legacy fly ash, the Ministry of Power again issued another advisory dated 22.02.2022 which shows that Power Ministry is more concerned regarding monetization of the sale of fly ash and as such have ignored the serious environmental violations and failure to prevent air and water pollution by the TPPs. (ANI)