Industrialization should not be at the cost of human lives by destroying ecosystem: Orissa High Court

While disposing of a public interest litigation petition last week, the Orissa High Court called for an equilibrium between the ecosystem and industrialisation
Industrialization should not be at the cost of human lives by destroying ecosystem: Orissa High Court
Forest

Industrialisation, though necessary for economy, should not be at the cost of human lives, the Orissa High Court said last week, calling for an equilibrium between the ecosystem and development.

“No doubt industrialization is required for enhancement of revenue, but that does not mean at the cost of the lives of human being by destroying eco-system," a Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Dr. BR Sarangi said.

The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by members of the New Light Yubak Sangha, a club. The petition had assailed the allotment of 8 acres of forest land in Sodamal to a Waste Management Firm by the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO).

IDCO was allotted the land to lease it out for the establishment of industry in the area.

The petitioner challenged the allotment of land to IDCO without hearing the villagers and other stakeholders submitting that members of the club had created new forest cover over the land with the help of the state forest department’s afforestation programme

It was stated that earlier announcements mooting the lease of land to IDCO for the establishment of industry had been vigorously opposed by the villagers as well as the club.

After the initial announcements were opposed, a second one was proposed and cleared the District Single Window Clearance System without an opportunity for hearing being granted to the villagers, it was submitted.

Taking note of the averments, the Orissa High Court observed that since the earlier proposals to lease land had been opposed, there was no justifiable reason to set up the industry on the land. This was especially serious if an industrial unit was going to be set up “by destroying the eco-system without hearing the grievance of the local people.

“This Court is of the considered view that the steps taken by opposite party no.8 at the cost of local people is serious one…” the High Court said.

However, since the petitioner’s representation opposing the land allotment was pending with the District Collector concerned, the High Court directed the latter to consider the representation and “pass a reasoned and speaking order by affording opportunity of hearing to the petitioner vis-a-vis the private party and other affected persons, if any”.

On these terms, the petition was disposed of.

[Read order]

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New Light Yubak Sangha v. State of Orissa.pdf
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