By Bizodisha Bureau, 28 Dec, 2020: In a significant judgment, Odisha High Court last week said industrialisation, though necessary for economy, should not be at the cost of human lives. It called 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. Thereby, equity has to be maintained between industrialization and eco-system itself. Unless there is equilibrium between the two systems, ultimate result will be devastated.” 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 opposed the allotment of eight 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

Earlier the villagers had strongly opposed the lease of land to IDCO for the establishment of industry. 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, the petitioner 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.”

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”.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of