maharashtra Pollution Control Board (mpcb) has become India's first pollution control board (pcb) to serve a show cause notice to a nuclear power plant for violating environmental laws. On September 16, 2005, mpcb member secretary D B Boralkar served a 15-day notice to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (npcil), a Government of India enterprise that owns Tarapur Atomic Power Project (tapp)-3&4, located in Thane district.
" npcil has been served notice under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, for violating two environmental laws. It commissioned its tapp -4 unit without obtaining mpcb's 'consent to operate (cto)' , as mandated under the 1974 Act. It also failed to pay Rs 32.67 crore as water cess to mpcb, as per the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977. This amount is due since 1983, when tapp -1&2 started functioning. If npcil fails to pay within 15 days, on the very 16th day we will file a case against it in the Thane court," warns Boralkar. The Rs 32.67 crore is minus the interest charge, which would be 24 per cent of the total due amount, he adds.
But Boralkar disagrees. The cooling water discharge (trade effluent) of Tarapur nuclear plant alone is 3,000 million litres daily (mld) which is more than the sewage from the entire Mumbai (2,800 mld). In such a case, how can npcil not pay the cess? Ridiculing npcil 's citing of the four-month clause, he says, "If all the industries go by npcil's logic, it will be a free for all situation. After receiving npcil's application, mpcb wrote back, asking for clarifications. Hence, the four-month period starts from that letter of mpcb and not May 4, 2005." Boralkar also cites an earlier Supreme Court order in a case between Kerala State Board for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, Trivandrum, versus Gwalior Rayon Silk Manufacturing (Weaving) Company Ltd, Kozhikode, which empowers pcbs to penalise defaulting units for non-payment of water cess under the 1974 Act. Besides, Boralkar says water cess is important for the pcb s to function. In the last year, mpcb has taken action against several defaulting units across Maharashtra to not only check them but also raise funds.