M. Soundariya Preetha

Board contends that the fees were hiked after 13 years and is meagre for SMEs

The consent fees were hiked by nearly 500 per cent for some small-scale units

The hike is only 300 per cent to 450 per cent for large-scale units

COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore District Small Industries’ Association has appealed to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to reduce the consent fees for small and medium-scale industries.

Association president K. Ilango told The Hindu that in a Government Order dated August 17, 2009 the consent fees was increased for small, medium and large-scale industries. Subsequently, the industries here appealed to the Pollution Control Board to reduce the fees for small and medium-scale units (SMEs). The board contended that the fees were hiked after 13 years and was meagre for the SMEs.

Mr. Ilango said the board levied consent fees based on the Gross Fixed Assets of a unit. Those with assets up to Rs. 8 crore were usually classified as small-scale and those with maximum Rs. 16 crore Gross Fixed Assets were medium-scale units.

The investment in plant and machinery by small-scale units would be Rs. 5 crore maximum and the medium-scale units had a maximum of Rs. 10 crore capital investment.

The consent fees were hiked by nearly 500 per cent for some small-scale units and by 750 per cent for some categories of medium-scale units. The hike was only 300 per cent to 450 per cent for large-scale units.

This was the time for the SMEs to invest in pollution control measures such as emission reduction, zero discharge and waste recycling. These would also increase the expenses for the industries. The hike in the consent fees now would affect investments. The board had increased the testing fees too. The industries would accept a hike in fees as it was done after 13 years. However, the hike in consent and testing fees should not be more than 100 per cent, he said.

Further, according to the Government Order the revised rates should be paid for the next year. But, the board was insisting that the units paid the revised fees immediately, he said.

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