30 steel re-rolling mills in Madhya Pradesh incriminated

30 steel re-rolling mills in Madhya Pradesh incriminated

madhya Pradesh's pollution authority has cracked the whip on 30 steel re-rolling mills in Sanwer industrial area. The mills have been incriminated under the Air (Pollution Control and Prevention) Act 1981.

Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board's (mppcb) tests revealed that suspended particles in Sanwer were 650 per microgram per cubic metre, against 500 per microgram per cubic metre, the maximum permitted limit for an industrial area. According to Achyut Mishra, the regional officer of the board, "The black smoke led them to the 30 units."

mppcb officials also found that mills use about 2-4 tonnes of coal to burn raw material and ingots. At Rs 4-6 per kg, coal is much cheaper than the recommended furnace oil that costs Rs 14 per litre. Most mills do not have a pulveriser; so they do not used pulverised coal. This increases the pollution burden. None of the mills have hoods inside the furnace to collect smoke escaping the chimneys. This spreads inside the building, affecting mill workers. Chimneys in most mills have no mechanism to filter the smoke before it is released.

mppcb has given the mills three months time to adhere to pollution control norms. Mishra estimates that it will cost each mill Rs 2-3 lakh if it agrees to install bag filters and collection units. He said the mill owners can afford this. However, Uttam Bhuvana, secretary of the Rolling Mills Association in Sanwer, says that these mills have seen no growth in the last 8-10 years. Some units have even shut down, as Madhya Pradesh does not have any source of raw material. All the steel plants went to Chhattisgarh when the new state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

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