New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday (July 23) has imposed an interim penalty of Rs 1 crore on Grasim Industries Limited for storing massive stock of mercury, obtained as a by-product, in its premises in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the company to shift the hazardous waste as per the Hazardous Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The NGT had also formed a joint committee comprising representatives of the ministry of environment and forests, Central Pollution Control Board and IIT, Kanpur.

"Pending such assessment, the applicant (Grasim) may deposit a sum of Rs 1 crore towards interim compensation with the CPCB to be spent for restoration of the environment. CPCB will be the nodal agency for the purpose," the bench said.

The tribunal passed the order after perusing a report from a panel formed by it which said that massive stock of the mercury bearing brine sludge/waste which was obtained as a by-product during the manufacturing before 2012, has been stored in the premises of the company.

The panel also suggested a penalty of Rs 1 crore as environment compensation.

The NGT said that it is clear that activity of discharge of mercury in the environment by the industry has been found and storage of hazardous waste is illegally continuing for which it is liable to be dealt with as per law.

"In view of above, we are of the opinion that the applicant must forthwith shift the hazardous waste in accordance with the rules and for the illegal storage as well as damage to the environment on account of contamination, the applicant is liable to pay environmental compensation and be dealt with as per rules," the NGT said.

The order came on a plea filed by Grasim seeking review of an August 28, 2018 order by which the unit was directed to shift the hazardous waste to treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.

According to the applicant, it generated hazardous waste in the course of its activities of manufacturing caustic soda, which was stored in its premises since 2010.

Earlier, a core committee set up by the NGT to inspect areas in Singrauli and Sonbhadra districts, where coal mines and thermal plants are operating, had submitted an interim report on the environment and the health of the people.