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

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.