Priti Narayan

Committee has decided to synchronise date of renewal for all units to fall on December 31

PPCC is in the process of computerising its records

PUDUCHERRY: Industries in Puducherry may soon monitor and regulate their own pollution control measures. The decision was made at a recent meeting, attended by Puducherry Pollution Control Committee (PPCC) and representatives of industrial associations in the Union Territory.

According to officials of the PPCC, there are around 2500 industrial units in the Union Territory registered with the committee. These belong to different categories, based on their pollution potential: the ‘green’ category units have low pollution potential and need renewal of their ‘consent to operate’ every three years. The ‘orange’ category units have moderate pollution potential and the ‘red’ units, high pollution potential, needing consent renewal every two years and one year respectively. This renewal is considered only after an inspection by PPCC authorities to ensure that pollution stays within prescribed norms.

“The PPCC laboratory is suffering a shortage of manpower, due to which this frequent inspection becomes difficult, especially as each industry requires renewal at different times of the year. So, we have suggested that industries become self-regulatory,” said G. Theva Neethi Dhas, Special Secretary to Government and Chairman of the PPCC. “There are a few laboratories that are authorised by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Samples could be sent by industries themselves for monitoring. As a corporate social responsibility, industries could also set up their own labs and have them authorised,” he elaborated.

There are many industries that often fail to renew their consent to operate, with the PPCC also not collecting their annual fee, Mr. Dhas revealed. Officials of the PPCC say that the arrears due from industries and penalties run into a few lakhs. For this reason, the PPCC has decided to conduct special camps in industrial estates for group consent renewal. The Puducherry chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has agreed to consult their affiliated associations and furnish a suggestive schedule for all areas. The first such camp will be held at the Mettupalyam Industrial Estate on January 25.

The committee has also decided to synchronise the date of renewal for all industrial units to fall on December 31. Cess payment may also be done while submitting the returns of groundwater consumption.

The PPCC is also in the process of computerising its records, and have asked units to furnish the required details. This database should help us compile environment survey reports and update records on remedial processes taken up by units, Mr. Dhas said.