Tribunal makes Noida factory comply with green regulations

Chrome plating unit in Noida is the second factory in the industrial area that has been allowed to resume operations after complying with standards and on condition of following CPCB recommendations

By Soundaram Ramanathan
Published: Saturday 21 September 2013

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) last week passed an order allowing a chrome plating industrial unit in Noida, B & R Collection Pvt Ltd, to resume operations provided it follows Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) regulations. The industry carries out general engineering works, like electroplating, phosphating and coating

The case is connected to a plea filed before NGT earlier, complaining of high levels of pollution in Noida industrial area near Delhi. In response, NGT ordered closure of highly polluting industries in the area until they comply with the standards (See ‘Noida pollution case timeline’).


Noida pollution case timeline

Noida is the first Special Economic Zone declared in India. It was declared SEZ in 1976. The area has nearly a total of 3,239 industries registered with the pollution control board.

January 2012: Resident of Noida, Sanjay Agnihotri, approaches National Green Tribunal (NGT), complaining of high pollution from nearby factories

April 2012: NGT bans new developmental projects in the NOIDA area

May 2012: Noida Entrepreneur Association requests the NGT asking to reconsider its decisions

July 2012: NGT asks CPCB to monitor pollution from generators and boilers of industries in the area. UP SPCB asked to take appropriate steps against polluting units

August 2012: It is revealed in court that carcinogenic air pollutants in Noida air is eight times higher than prescribed limit. MoEF directed to prepare a Noida action Plan

September 2012: Court says it is not happy with the MoEF‘s action plan. Asks CPCB to convene a meeting with all the stakeholders and prepare a plan for curbing air and water pollution in Noida industrial areas

September 19, 2012: CPCB convenes meeting with stakeholders.

October 30, 2012: Noida action plan prepared by CPCB in consultation with stakeholders is submitted before NGT

January 2013: Court is unhappy with the compliance steps taken by the stakeholders to control pollution. Orders a joint inspection committee probe  

February 2013: Joint inspection carried out

April 2013: Non-polluting industries allowed in the area

May 2013: NGT orders closure of 18 industries based on the report. Compliance conditions of the industries are sought 

Subsequently, the Uttar Pradesh state pollution control board (SPCB) carried out a site inspection in August. It issued closure notice to 10 industries in August. Six were issued notices for violating effluent discharge standards and three were issued notices for violating air discharge standards and one for violating both, says Atulesh Yadav, regional officer with SPCB. “it was not actually all about whether or not they have installed pollution control devices but also whether they are in  a position to comply with the standards,” says Yadav.

Since B & R Collection was found violating effluent discharge and air pollution standards, it was served closure notices in August. Consequently, the power supply to the factory was withdrawn. Following this, B&R Collection approached NGT for relief.

Earlier this month, in a similar case, another factory, Modern Door Devices, was allowed to resume operations after inspection revealed that the company was complying with environmental regulations.  
In the case of B&R Collection, the tribunal had earlier ordered a joint inspection of the factory by PCB and SPCB. Based on the joint inspection committee report, NGT found the company was not meeting the general standards for total suspended solids (TSS), chromium (total), copper and nickel, and in order to meet them, the court asked the company to adhere to recommendations in the joint committee report and ordered another CPCB inspection on September 13.

The company was found taking necessary steps as per the inspection report. During inspection, the authorities found that the company had installed scrubbers, a new effluent treatment plant (ETP) and two cyclone filters connected to a 35 ft stack (there were no pollution control devices in the stack earlier).
The authorities also observed that there were no air pollution control devices in the grinding section (metal surface cleaning/preparation section) of the industry. In the latest report, it recommended the company install a device and then start operations. The chrome plating unit of the industry was found dismantled during the visit.

Based on the report, Justice P Jyothimani's bench set aside the orders passed by SPCB and allowed the industry to operate as per CPCB recommendations. The court thus has categorically reiterated that the industry can operate fully only after the installation of the air pollution control device in the grinding section. The court has also asked the operation of installed ETP and air pollution control device on a regular basis even during the partial operation period as per CPCB‘s recommendation. The court has asked the company to take appropriate steps for the disposal of the equipment and other materials connected with the dismantled chrome planting unit.

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