How is textile industry placed in Union Budget 2021-22

Textile is a water-intensive industry; no details, however, were given about water conservation and wastewater treatment during the budget speech

By Shobhit Srivastava
Published: Tuesday 02 February 2021

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in a bid to promote the textile industry, proposed Mega Investment Textile Region and Apparel Park (MITRA) scheme for creation of world-class facilities while presenting the Union Budget 2021-22.

At least seven textile parks will be developed over the next three year under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to help create employment opportunities.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, a central government scheme, aims to promote local businesses and help India become a self-reliant country. The government, however, needs to make sure that the textile parks are planned in a manner that they remain pollution-free and do not carry forward the baggage of our existing industrial areas.

The textile sector is among the Grossly Polluting Industries (GPI), which discharge wastewater more than 100 kilo litres a day.

It is a water-intensive sector, and any new schemes should consider the efficient use of valuable resources. The establishment of proposed textile parks should include commissioning of common effluent treatment plants / separate wastewater treatment plants that have proper treatment schemes.

Textile parks should be established with zero liquid discharge (ZLD) scheme. No details, however, were given on water conservation and wastewater treatment during the budget speech. Does this mean that India will become self-sufficient at the cost of polluted riverfronts and decreasing groundwater levels?

Common infrastructure need of the hour

A majority of textile units are small and polluting in nature in the textile clusters of Panipat and Ghaziabad (Loni) owing to relaxed standards and absence of air pollution control devices. It becomes economically non-feasible for such units to install air pollution control devices and for the regulators to monitor these units.

So, do these textile parks plan to accommodate smaller units?  If yes, these parks should have common environmental infrastructure such as common boiler, common effluent treatment plant, well-defined and guarded waste dumping sites. Having a common environmental infrastructure is beneficial for all scales of industries, particularly for the smaller ones.

Location to be decided wisely

The location of upcoming textile parks should be decided considering the two most important factors:

  • Gas pipeline location should be proposed in areas where the pipeline is already available and should be mandated for industries to operate with PNG. This will ensure zero usage of dirty fuels in the industry and lesser pollution load.
  • The textile sector is water-intensive; the site for the textile parks should be decided based on the ground water level in the proposed region. Extraction of groundwater should be discouraged. Recycling and reuse should be focused upon.

Infrastructure requirement

Mega projects like these should also have designated parking facility to avoid traffic congestion or illegal parking on the roadsides within the industrial park (especially of heavy vehicles). Since there is always movement of heavy vehicles inside the industrial area, road infrastructure should be robust and the road should be well maintained to ensure smooth movement of traffic and avoid fugitive dust from getting air-borne.

It is important to not only properly construct main roads, but also ensure that side walks are well paved with greenery on both sides to curb fugitive road dust.

For non-hazardous industrial waste management in the industrial area, proper door-to-door collection is suggested along with a material recovery facility for recycle and reuse of the waste generated.

An ideal textile industrial park with the above environmental precautions and facilities can be a model of development for new and old industrial developments. That will be the real Atmanirbhar Bharat with clean water and blue skies.

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