Law Insider India

Legal News, Current Trends and Legal Insight | Supreme Court of India and High Courts

NGT Imposes Rs 25 Crore Fine on Coca-Cola, PepsiCo for Illegal Abstraction of Groundwater in Uttar Pradesh

2 min read
NGT - law insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published on: March 8, 2022 at 18:40 IST

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed fine of Rs 25 crore as Environmental Compensation on two companies namely Moon Beverages and Varun Beverages, who manufacture Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. It found them Guilty of Exploiting GroundWater in Uttar Pradesh for Bottling Plants.

The National Green Tribunal Bench comprised Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Sudhir Agarwal and Brijesh Sethi (Judicial Members), and Professor A Senthil and Dr Afroz Ahmad (Expert Members).

The Bench ruled that the Bottling Plants worked in Violation of the Environmental Law of Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) as they did not Possess the required No Objection Certificate (NOC) for Extraction of Groundwater.

The Companies failed to meet the Requirements for Recharging the GroundWater, and thus are Guilty of Breaking one of the Terms of their Licenses.

The Project Proponents will have to Pay Environmental Compensation for Illegally Extracting the Groundwater after the No Objection Certificate’s Expired and as they failed to Recharge the Groundwater as per the condition of No Objection Certificate’s, and thus causing Loss to the Environment.

The National Green Tribunal imposed Fine of Rs 1.85 Crore on the Greater Noida plant (Moon Beverages) and Rs 13.24 crore on the Sahibabad plant of Coca-Cola (Moon Beverages) and Rs 9.71 crore on Greater Noida Plant of Pepsi (Varun Beverages).

The Tribunal remarked on Central Ground Water Authority, “…Time and again, acting in a most Callous and Defiant mode, Central Ground Water Authority has proceeded in its own way, going to the extent of Permitting wholly Illegally massive Exploitation of Groundwater, that too, in extremely stressed Areas, wholly Unconcerned with the Consequences.”

The Tribunal also noted that the Uttar Pradesh Ground Water Department (UPGWD) also contributed towards causing Damage to the Environment in causing Illegal abstraction of Groundwater and it might be held accountable for it.

It constituted a joint Committee of Central Pollution Control Board, Central Ground Water Authority, Uttar Pradesh Ground Water Department and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board for conducting a Survey in Uttar Pradesh.

The Committee shall prepare Data of various categories drawing Groundwater for Commercial Purposes, study impact Assessment, and suggest measures for Reducing Groundwater Extraction and Improving the Level of Groundwater.

It Ordered that the any other expert may be Inducted by the Committee. The District Magistrate shall be a member of the Committee. Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board shall be the Nodal authority.

Also Read: Supreme Court: NGT has Suo Motu powers to take up environmental issues

NGT takes Suo Motu Cognizance of lack of Solar Waste Management Policy