Skip to main content

Industry should return subsidies provided by Central, state govts for pollution control: Environmental body

By Our Representative
Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed jointly by the top Gujarat-based environmental body, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), and the Farmers’ Action Group (FAG), the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the chief secretaries of 19 Indian states, including Gujarat, seeking response on the demand by the petitioners to implement the prescribed pollution control norms, even as ensuring implementation of the “polluter pays” principle in its real spirit,  instead of providing huge subsidies in the name of controlling pollution.
Talking with newspersons, PSS’s Rohit Prajapati said, “The polluter pays principle is being violated at every step. The Common Effluent Treatment e (CETPs), made to treat pollution unleashed by industry, is being highly subsidized. If earlier, 25 per cent of the CETP’s cost was borne by the Centre, another 25 per cent by the state, 25 per cent was soft loan, and only 25 per cent was industrial investment, today the Centre’s contribution is 50 per cent, with the combined contribution of soft loan and industry’s coming down to 25 per cent. We want all subsidy provided by Central and state governments for controlling industrial pollution to be returned, as it was precious public money which industry should pay for. It should pay back with retrospective effect.”
The notice was issued on December 9, 2013 by the Forest Bench of the Supreme Court of India, consisting of Justices A. K. Patnaik, Surinder Singh Nijjar and Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, and the PSS and the FAG were represented by well-known human rights lawyer Collin Gonsalves. The PIL was filed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution under which the individuals may seek redressal for the violation of their fundamental rights. “The PIL expresses concern over the massive pollution of India’s water bodies”, Prajapati said.
Prajapati asserted, “It demands respondents to ensure that no effluents having pollutants in excess of the prescribed norms flow into any water body (including groundwater) or seep into the soil, and to ensure that no industry is permitted to function unless it has an effluent treatment plant that meets prescribed norms.”
He pointed out, “Our PIL is also concerned with massive pollution in the air and on the land in 43 of India’s most critically polluted clusters and 32 severally polluted clusters. The facts as they unfold reveal a very grim situation of massive pollution of India’s water and an irreversible situation has emerged threatening the health of India’s rivers, groundwater and the lives of millions of people.”
Informing that in 2009 Ankleshwar’s industrial area had a Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) of 88.50, topping the list of critically-polluted areas of India, Prajapati said, “In 2011 and 2013, Vapi industrial area, with CEPI of 85.31, topped this list.” Suggesting that CEPI itself is not comprehensive enough, as it fails to take into account impact on health of workers working in polluting industries and on agriculture, he emphasizes, “A better norm should be fixed to ascertain CEPI.”
Be that as it may, he added, “While pollution itself is deeply worrying, more worrying is that industrialists show no or little concern whatsoever despite the enormity of the crime they commit and the Central and State governments, apart from writing letters from time to time, show no inclination to even take the first step to reverse this trend to restore the health of India’s rivers, water bodies and groundwater.”
Prajapati said, the PIL contained following demands:
· A writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction, to the Union Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Central Pollution Control Board and the chief secretary of Gujarat State and other 18 states to ensure that no industry is permitted to function after January 1, 2013 unless it has an effluent treatment plant that is able to meet prescribed norms and take such measures to ensure that its effluents and air pollution are within the norms prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board/State Pollution Control Boards.
· An order to ensure that under no circumstances should any effluent which has pollutants in excess of the norms prescribed, be allowed to flow into any water body in the country or seep into the soil.
· An order that no effluent treatment plants / common effluent treatment plant is permitted, under any circumstance, to discharge effluents with pollution in excess of the prescribed norms onto the land or into any water body.
· An order to desist from subsidizing the costs of effluent treatment plants.
· An order asking independent and reputed agencies, including academic institutions, to conduct studies, in the first instance, in the 43 critically polluted and 32 severely polluted clusters of India as set out above, of the effect on the people, livelihood and animals of the pollution in order to ascertain the polluters and the compensation that they ought to pay to those adversely affected.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there. 

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.