Judgement of the National Green Tribunal on whether cellular service providers using generator sets along with towers come under "industrial plant", 24/08/2017

  • 24/08/2017

Judgement of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Bharti Infratel Ltd. Vs Madhya Pradesh State Pollution Control Board & Others dated 24/08/2017 on whether cellular service providers using generator sets along with towers come under "industrial plant".

Case History:

  • Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board on on 31st March, 2009 passed an order that stated that Order that stated that the registration and renewal of registration under Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008, of Medium Scale Industry and mines above area of 5 Hectare has been given to Director and registration and renewal of small scale industries and mines upto 5 Hectare and below it has been given to local officers.
  • The Order of MPPCB was assailed in High Court. The primary contention raised before the High court was that the service providers like Bharti Infratel Ltd. who were using generator sets and standlone items along with the towers which they had installed for providing cellular services to the public at large were not covered within the definition of “industrial plant” in terms of Section 2(k) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Rules framed thereunder. High Court did not deal with this contention and directed the SPCB to consider all contentions.
  • An Order was passed by MPPCB on 28th June, 2012 in which the Board came to the conclusion that the petitioners were required to make an application, in a prescribed form and obtain consent of the Board under the provision of the Act of 1981 and also pay requisite fee for submission of the application and obtain an authorization, as per the provision of the Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 within 15 days from the date of issuance of the letter by the Member Secretary of the Board.

National Green Tribunal in its Judgement dated 24/08/2017 declined to quash the order dated 31st March, 2009 passed by the MPPCB and passed some directions which shall be read in consonance with the order dated 28th June, 2012.  The directions are

  • The Cellular Service Providers are obliged to take consent of the Madhya Pradesh State Pollution Control Board for installing and operating DG sets as an alternative source of power to the towers that they erect in the State under the provisions of the Act of 1981.
  • They are also liable to apply for obtaining authorization for managing, handling and disposing of the hazardous waste (used/waste oil) or in alternative, to engage an agency duly authorised by the Board for that purpose and in accordance with the Rules of 2008.
  • The service providers are granted four weeks time to file such applications for consent to operate/authorization to the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board which should be complete in all respects.