Pollution: NGT orders joint inspection at steel plant

The National Green Tribunal has directed the central and Uttar Pradesh pollution control boards to jointly inspect Rathi Steel and Power Ltd's plant at Ghaziabad for alleged failure to take steps to control air and water pollution.

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the central and Uttar Pradesh pollution control boards to jointly inspect Rathi Steel and Power Ltd's plant at Ghaziabad for alleged failure to take steps to control air and water pollution.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed a team of senior environmental engineers from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to inspect the unit and submit its final report clearly stating whether the industry was complying with all the directions issued by the Boards.

"The trade effluent (liquid waste), stack and ambient air quality samples would be collected and analysed... The samples would be tested at the laboratory of the CPCB.

"The joint inspection team should clearly report as to the quantum of extraction of ground water by the industry, the cess payable and amount of cess actually paid by the industry for all these years. The team shall also verify if the units have authorisation to deal with hazardous wastes, if the same is found in the premises of the unit," the bench said.

The Tribunal, in a 23-page judgement, took strong objection to the air pollution caused by the stainless steel plant and asked the industry to show cause as to why it should not be directed to pay compensation for polluting the environment.

It has also directed UPPCB and the competent authority under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 to issue notice to all the industries in Ghaziabad wherever they were extracting groundwater and were not paying appropriate cess in accordance with the law.

"If such industry is causing any pollution i.E air and water by their activity, show cause notices shall be issued by the Board within two weeks from the date of this order and it should proceed with such industries in accordance with law," the Tribunal said.

NGT's direction came on a plea by Ghaziabad resident Rajiv Narayan, who had alleged that rapid development of industries there has resulted in acute air and water pollution which is causing severe health problems to the city's dwellers.

According to him, CPCB in 2009 came up with Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) by looking at four prime parameters to arrive at a score for water, air and land pollution. This index showed Ghaziabad as third most polluted city in the country.

"It was noticed that small and big industries which were emitting black smoke in the area, were causing serious air pollution and health hazards to the local residents.

"The World Bank in Project Appraisal Document of 2010 has also referred to a finding by CPCB that the pollution in Ghaziabad is seriously affecting the quality of life of communities, particularly referring to industrial clusters," the plea said. 

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