Vizag gas leak: SC puts Rs 50 cr compensation by LG Polymers on hold

The Supreme Court on Monday put on hold, for 10 days, the disbursal of Rs 50 crore compensation by LG Polymers for the Vizag gas leak incident, as directed by the National Green Tribunal.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, M.M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran noted that the Andhra Pradesh High Court expeditiously dispose of the pending application in connection with the incident. On June 1, the NGT had ordered the South Korean company to deposit Rs 50 crore.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for LG Polymers, contended before the bench that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had directed the directors of the company to deposit their passports in the court, and this order is without jurisdiction. The LG Polymers moved the apex court challenging the NGT and the High Court orders. On the last hearing, the apex court had allowed 30 company personnel to access the plant for maintenance and other purposes.

Rohatgi argued that despite this order, the District Magistrate did not allow the company personnel to go inside. As the bench asked if a nod from the authorities was sought for the removal of the hazardous gas from the plant, Rohatgi replied the plant has been sealed, and this order was passed without expert opinion.

He also pointed out that the High Court is yet to take up the matter despite a large number of committees having been formed to watch over the case. He argued the DM's order preventing two lawyers getting entry inside the plant was not proper.

Rohatgi clarified that his client has moved the apex court to challenge the order in connection with deposit of the passports in the court, and also the order issued to seal the plant. He insisted that sealing of the plant is unconstitutional.

The apex court has asked the High Court to dispose of these pending applications by the end of next week, and also restrained the disbursal of the compensation amount for a period of ten days.

On May 26, the apex court allowed 30 employees of LG Polymers India Ltd to supervise "round the clock safety measures" at its sealed plant in Visakhapatnam, where a gas leak in May claimed 12 lives.   - IANS