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

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.