Polluting industrial units closed only on paper
DESPITE closure notices several industrial units are operating in Mahad tehsil of Raigad district, polluting a river and wells. As a result fishing and farming in the region have been badly affected.
On November 30, Mahad subregional office of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) issued notices to six industrial units in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to close within 72 hours. It asked 12 other units to close within seven days. The action came after residents of village Shirgaon in the region protested when effluent-laden water entered their houses.
The residents allege the action taken by the authorities is mere hogwash as similar notices issued earlier to several industries had no results. After the November 30 closure notices, the companies were given two-three days extensions to wind up their operations. On December 10, after notice periods expired, the MPCB claimed that 16 of the 18 errant units had been closed.
But when Down To Earth visited the area five days later nearly all units were found operating. Inquiries revealed that MPCB itself had ordered the water department to resume supply to all the closed units except two. MPCB subregional officer J S Salunkhe did not respond when contacted. M R Thakur, field officer of MPCB said he had no clue on how many units have closed.
Fishers, farmers suffer
While the authorities dilly-dally, effluent- laden water has destroyed two most important sources of living in Mahad— farming and fishing. The MIDC became operational in 1981-82. Till 2003, the 103 industrial units were releasing untreated water despite effluent treatment plants in some of the larger units.
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