BHUBANESWAR: The trouble mounts for philanthropist Achyuta Samanta as the State initiates process for legal action for violation environmental laws. The State government has directed the Khurda Collector to take legal action against Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology which proviso the criminal prosecution.
Acting on a notice of sixty days under section 19(b) of the Environment Protection Act 1986 by Green Rights Campaigner Subash Mohapatra, the Director of Environment cum Special Secretary to Government of the Forest and Environment department of the State has directed the Collector.
‘The District collector has been empowered by Central Govt to take cognizance of offence committed within jurisdiction of revenue district under section 19 of E(P) Act and initiate legal action’, reads the letter.
Further, the letter directs, “please examine the case after conducting the inquiry in consultation with SPCB with reference to Citizenary Charge Note and take legal action against the above project proponents as per provisions contained under section 19 of EP Act 1986”.
Earlier, the petitioner has approached the authority with notice of sixty days along with Citizenry Charge Note I & II giving details about the violation of Environment Protection Act by Kalinga Institute of Industrial technology.
The citizenarry charge note has alleged KIIT has posed as the environmental hazard in the locality and affected the water, air issues, including the noise which is well settled in law, and Supreme Court of India has consistently taken the view that right to life includes the right to a decent environment.
The right to a clean environment is a guaranteed fundamental right. Proper and healthy environment enables people to enjoy a quality of life which is the essence of the right guaranteed under Article 21of the Indian Constitution. The right to have congenial environment for human existence is the right to life.
The State has a duty in that behalf and to shed its extravagant unbridled sovereign power and to forge in its policy to maintain ecological balance and hygienic environment. Unfortunately, the State has badly failed in the matter of KIIT having unholy nexus.
It is to be noted that information revealed through RTI that Achyuta Samanta led organizations run without approval from environmental authority. Further, NGT has directed to restore the pristine conditions of forest which is under illegal possession of his organizations.
The prosecutions provision states, ‘(1)Whoever fails to comply with or contravenes any of the provisions of this Act, or the rules made or orders or directions issued thereunder, shall, in respect of each such failure or contravention, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention, and (2) if the failure or contravention referred to in sub-section (1) continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years’.