|Untreated water from effluent treatment plant in Vadodara|
Would a recent Supreme Court order prove to be a “test case” on whether the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) “immediately” act against the industry-driven final effluent treatment facilities provided to the industrial areas of Vadodara and Ankaleshwar as they were allegedly unable to meet the prescribed GPCB norms?
Citing the order, a top Gujarat-based environmental body has insisted that not only the Consolidated Consent and Authorization certificate to the two effluent treatment facilities – Narmada Clean Tech (NCT), Ankaleshwar, and Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited (VECL) – should be cancelled.
At the same time, the NGO, Paryavaran Surak Samiti (PSS), has said, chemical emergency should be declared for the industrial clusters attached with the two effluents treatment facilities, even as cancelling Environment Clearance (EC) given to all the “defaulting polluting industries.”
NCT is a state-run Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) subsidiary, jointly promoted by member industries of Ankleshwar, Jhagadia and Panoli industrial estates to receive treated industrial effluent and to polish up to marine standards, and then to convey deep into the sea. VECL provides a similar function for tens of top industrial units around Vadodara.
The demand is based on a recent Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report (click HERE to read), which has found that groundwater of villages off Vadodara is highly polluted due to “industrial activity”, mainly because of what it calls “unscientific disposal of hazardous waste water” into the effluent treatment channel, which goes to the sea.
The report, prepared in September 2016, had said that the colour of the groundwater all over varies from dark brownish-red to pale yellow, adding, the situation is particularly extremely alarming in groundwater locations around the dye intermediate industries.
In a statement, PSS’ Rohit Prjapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai, Anand Mazgaonkar, Rajnibhai Dave, and Michael Mazgaonkar -- and endorsed by Kirit Amin and Ghanshyam Patel of the Farmers’ Action Group, and Salim Patel and Hareshbhai Parmar of the Prakruti Suraksha Mandal, Ankleshwar -- says that the apex court, responding to PSS's writ petitions(c) No. 375 of 2012, said that “the industry requiring ‘consent to operate’ can be permitted to run, only if its primary effluent treatment plant is functional.
Delivered on February 22, 2017 by the Supreme Court bench consisting Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice Dr DY Chandrachud, and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, the judgment directs all State Pollution Control Boards, to issue notices to all industrial units, which require “consent to operate”, by way of a common advertisement, requiring them to make their primary effluent treatment plants fully operational within three months.
“That means deadline ends on May 23, 2017”, the statement says, adding, “On the expiry of the notice period of three months, the concerned State Pollution Control Boards are mandated to carry out inspections, to verify, whether or not, each industrial unit requiring ‘consent to operate’ has a functional primary effluent treatment plant.”
“Such an industrial concern, which has been disabled from carrying on its industrial activities, is granted liberty to make its primary effluent treatment plant functional to the required capacity. Only after the receipt of such fresh ‘consent to operate’, the industrial activities of the disabled industry can be permitted to be resumed”, the statement says.