The National Green Tribunal has directed the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) to look into the issue of grant of contract for supply of absolute alcohol or ethanol to manufacturing units which are running without permission of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO).
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel asked the BPCL to examine the issue and take action in accordance with the law after a plea by an NGO sought directions to the state-run oil marketing firm not to grant contract for supply of ethanol to units which lack requisite approval.
The plea filed by NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE) said that no industry can be allowed to manufacture absolute alcohol/ethanol without a license from PESO in view of mandatory requirement of Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989.
The NGT said that though the grievance of the NGO appears to be against tender that is not a subject matter which may be gone into by this tribunal, issue of environmental law can certainly be required to be gone into.
Advocate Sanjay Upadhyay, appearing for the NGO, said that tender would encourage and allow industries to not only supply ethanol without obtaining compulsory licence from PESO but encourage industries to continue manufacturing without permission.
"Bharat Petroleum Limited's Tender dated September 18 has called for Expression of Interest for supply of around 329 crore litres of anhydrous denatured ethanol without the mandatory PESO licence and stated that it is only an optional requirement thereby completely disregarding the mandate of not only the provisions of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 but also the Petroleum Rules, 2002," the plea filed through advocate Saliq Shafique read.
The NGT had earlier directed that no manufacturer will produce absolute alcohol without seeking appropriate permission from the Ministry of Commerce, Chief Controller, Explosives and other authorities.
"It is in view of the fact that under the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 and Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules 1996 as notified under the provision of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, such permission is required," the tribunal had said.