Upward revision in cost of effluent treatment plants resented
the owners of Delhi's industrial units are up in arms about an unscheduled hike in the cost of setting up 15 common effluent treatment plants (cetps) in the capital. The Delhi government recently issued notices to more than 17,000 industrial units, asking them to pay an additional Rs 73.8 crore towards the revised cost of installing the cetps. But many industrialists have refused to shell out the money.
Following a Supreme Court (sc) order in 1996, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (neeri) had estimated the cost of setting up the cetps to be Rs 90 crore. It had also identified 17,000 industrial units to be brought under cetp societies. But now the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (dsidc), which was given the task of building the cetps in tandem with these societies, has revised the cost to Rs 256 crore.
"We have paid whatever the sc asked us to. Why should we contribute more?" asks J R Jindal, president of the Delhi Factory Owners' Federation. Jalaj Srivastava, commissioner of Delhi's industry department, says: "Some industries approached us directly (not through societies) and are paying their dues. Others have moved the court."
Srivastava, who is also the managing director of dsidc, explains that the increase in cost is mainly due to the additional cost of infrastructure -- land, conveyance system and electrical installation -- in the revised estimates. "These were not part of neeri's calculations and add up to Rs 71 crore," he reveals. Besides, the capital cost of cetps has also increased from Rs 90 crore to Rs 165.8 crore. "But this is not too much considering the eight-year gap between the two estimates," he says.
R K Gupta, chief engineer, dsidc, alleges that the industries are not managing their waste properly. "Effluent containing hazardous metals like chromium and cyanide is being discharged without proper treatment."
Srivastava says the notices were issued as the dsidc "has invested Rs 145 crore and got back only Rs 115 crore in this project". He adds: "Both the government and industrialists are yet to pay up fully (see table: Mounting dues)." Besides, dues worth Rs 13 crore are yet to be cleared and Rs 70 lakh is needed every month to run the four existing cetps.
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