Madhya Pradesh: Essar asked to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation for damage to crops, property in Singrauli
Mauritius-based energy industry company Essar Energy has been asked to deposit Rs 50 lakh as compensation by the Singrauli district administration for damage to crops and property.
The money would be distributed as compensation to residents of two villages who suffered heavy crop damage due to leakage of ash from Mahan Power plant ash dam during the intervening night of August 6 and August 7.
Ash-laden water spilled into over 200 acres of land after one of the walls of the dam was breached while it was raining heavily in Singrauli.
According to sources, Singrauli district collector KVS Choudhary has conveyed the decision of penalising Essar energy with Rs 50 lakh and the company is understood to have agreed to give the same.
Initially, Essar claimed that the wall of the dam was breached because of sabotage and tried to convince police to register an FIR against unidentified accused.
The villagers, while denying sabotage in their representation to police, had contended that they were the ones who had suffered in terms of damage to the crops and property.
They also claimed that four minors had had a narrow escape in the process.
A team of the pollution control board also visited the spot on Saturday to access the environmental damage caused by the ash-laden water that spilled into over 200 acres of land.
According to observers, the Rs 50-lakh penalty to Essar is being seen as an easy let off.
The company has been let off easily. Though the exact damge to the crops, environment and property is not known, there could have been a major tragedy in terms of loss of human life," an official of the pollution Control board said on condition of anonimity.
The official further said, "Thankfully, it did not happen but the company should have been held accountable. Unfortunately, the entire district adminstration and a top minister of the government were working to help the company from the moment the tragedy happened."