Calcutta polluters refuse to budge

Published: Saturday 31 December 1994

-- The West Bengal government is finding it extremely difficult to implement interim Supreme Court orders to relocate 122 chemical industries set up in Calcutta. The SC ruling had come earlier this year in response to a public interest litigation filed against these industries for causing heavy air and water pollution, as well as the state authorities for permitting the former to continue operations.

In a hearing of the case on November 25, state advocate-general N N Gooptu claimed that although as many as 4 alternate sites had been offered to the chemical units, the latter refused to shift out. According to him, the owners had collectively conveyed to the state government that they would not move until satisfied that the infrastructure of the alternative locations was brought up to match the operating conditions enjoyed by them present.

The apex court also took up a case relating to individual polluting units and allowed them more time to install air pollution control equipments. As the state pollution control board has reported that these units have taken no measures to control pollution, the court has set December 31, 1994, as the deadline, failing which the units will be closed down.

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