The National Green Tribunal has ordered KTV Oil Mills Pvt Ltd to demolish illegal structures constructed at its storage facility on the Ennore Express High Road within three months, failing which the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority has been authorised to carry out their demolition.

The bench of Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta also set aside the CRZ clearance granted to the facility by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s expert committee as it found the clearance to be illegal.

The case relates to an appeal against the grant of CRZ clearance to the company’s facility. The applicant said the company had constructed seven tanks for storing edible oil at its facility and laid a pipeline from the Chennai Port to its storage terminal without obtaining CRZ clearance from the MoEF. CRZ clearance was issued in July 2017 for this purpose. It was challenged by the applicant, who said that there was no provision for granting ex-post facto clearance and that the practice was deprecated by the Supreme Court and the Principal bench of the NGT in several cases.

‘No illegality’

Counsel for the MoEF argued that the project was recommended for CRZ clearance with specific and general conditions to be followed and there was no illegality. The company said the storage of non-hazardous oil was a permitted activity and Chennai Port was a notified port. It said the diameter of the pipeline was 10 inches, as provided under the CRZ clearance, while the NHAI had given approval to lay a 12 inch diameter pipeline. Making a slew of observations, the bench said the CRZ clearance was issued post facto, but was treated as a fresh proposal “which in itself is not a legal procedure”.

“The Coastal Regulation Zone clearance granted to KTV Oil Mills is not permissible and liable to be set aside,” the bench ordered.

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