A National Green Tribunal (NGT) panel has directed ACS Medical College and Hospital in Poonamallee to pay ₹3.4 crore as compensation for environmental damage. Also, the teaching hospital is under the supervision of the Revenue Department on charges of land scams.
KR Selvaraj Kumar, the representative of the local fishermen welfare association, went to the NGT and complained that the said health centre was dumping biomedical waste in the surrounding vacant land and public drains.
He alleged that during the construction of the hospital, they had illegally occupied areas near Poonamallee taluk. Selvaraj, in his application, said that they have not received the mandatory Environment Clearance (EC) and Consent to Operate (CTO) from the concerned government agencies.
To verify these claims, NGT appointed a joint committee or panel in January 2022 to survey the area and submit a factual report. The panel confirmed that the hospital did not obtain CE and CTO and applied for CE from State National Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) – Tamil Nadu and the project is under evaluation.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) had issued a good cause notice to the hospital for the violation. The committee further noted that sewage was treated ineffectively before disposal and biomedical waste was collected and disposed of through a government-approved agency. However, the hospital was not authorised for the same under the Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. Therefore, the panel ordered ACS Hospital to pay ₹3,38,40,000 in environmental compensation.
Regarding the alleged land scam, the panel confirmed that the hospital buildings were built on leased land. However, old revenue records indicate that there was a pond in the northeast section, said the panel report. Accepting these findings, the NGT ordered the Tiruvallu District Collector on March 4 to file a report indicating whether a tank was illegally converted to leased land. The hearing in the case has been postponed until April 4.