National Green Tribunal firm on not allowing new polluting industries in Ghaziabad

UP Pollution Control Board fails to furnish satisfactory report to tribunal

 
By Srestha Banerjee
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on December 12 reiterated its earlier order of not allowing any new polluting industries in Ghaziabad. The order was given by a bench comprising Justice A S Naidu and expert member G K Pandey while hearing the case relating to compliance with pollution and environmental norms by industries in Ghaziabad. On November 2, NGT had said that the “state authorities shall not grant any permission to set up new industries which are source of pollution (categorized as Red and Orange units due to their potential for causing heavy and moderate pollution respectively) without prior approval of NGT.”

NGT had sought a detailed affidavit from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) on the current environmental compliance status of units located in all the industrial estates of Ghaziabad, the pollution level of ground water as well as the ambient air quality, and the steps which have been taken for mitigating pollution. NGT also sought details of defaulting units in the industrial estates. UPPCB has failed to present a satisfactory report before NGT. The case will now be heard on January 13.

Rajiv Narayan. a resident of Ghaziabad, set the ball rolling when he filed a petition before NGT. The NGT gave its first order barring industrial expansion on the basis of an affidavit that was submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), indicating and specifying current environmental position in Ghaziabad. The NGT order also directed authorities not to renew 'Consent to Operate' orders of polluting to industries on expiry of the consents.

The NGT order follows in the wake of Ghaziabad getting listed as a critically polluted area by CPCB. The CPCB published a Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) in December 2009, to evaluate air, water and land pollution in industrial clusters and cities and provide an overall score. Areas having aggregated CEPI scores of 70 and above are considered as critically polluted industrial clusters/ areas, and areas having CEPI between 60-70 are considered as severely polluted areas. CPCB said that critically polluted industrial clusters/ areas need detailed investigations in terms of the extent of damage and formulation of appropriate remedial action plan, while severely polluted areas should be kept under surveillance and pollution control measures should be ef´¼üciently implemented. Advocate Raj Panjwani who appeared for the applicant in NGT, said Ghaziabad holds the number three position in the CPCB list of polluted areas and the case has to be taken to its logical conslusion.

Ghaziabad with a CEPI score of 87.37 requires urgent measures and action to reduce pollution. P P Srivastava, chief law officer of UPPCB, said, “a detailed affidavit on the prevailing environmental condition in the area, with current air and water pollution status has been submitted to the NGT as directed on November 2. The NGT now requires a more comprehensive pollution data of the past five years in the area and an examination of the trend.”

T U Khan, regional officer of UPPCB, Ghaziabad, informed that the besides the overall pollution status in the area, the pollution control board is required to submit detailed industry-wise emissions and compliance data to the NGT. He added that the “main source of ambient air pollutants are emissions from boilers used in industries, air pollution from construction activities and vehicular pollution. UPPCB has already directed the industries regarding abatement policies of environmental pollutants, for which a compliance report is now required,” he said.

Fallout of NGT order

The NGT order has already started to influence granting of Environment Clearance (EC) to industries in Ghaziabad. The EC that was granted to Rathi Super Steel Ltd. on November 16 for capacity expansion of induction furnace of its steel plant in Ghaziabad Industrial area, has been stalled by the MoEF through a order dated December 7. It stated that no decisions can be taken until further directions comes from NGT regarding granting of clearances to industries in the area.

The NGT order on Ghaziabad has a bearing for other critically polluted areas in the country where industries are being granted ECs without giving heed to the already critical pollution in these areas.

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