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National Green Tribunal pulls up MPCB

he National Green Tribunal has pulled up the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) for not complying with its directions for preparing a remedial action plan for water and soil pollution in the Waluj Industrial Area in Aurangabad district, even after one and a half years.

“Since the passing of the directions in a judgment dated September 24, 2014, we have been anxiously awaiting compliance. However, it appears that nothing tangible has moved towards the fruitful conclusion in the present case,” a Bench of Justice UD Salvi and Ajay Deshpande observed in an order on February 11.

The Tribunal had directed MPCB to devise a remedial action plan for restoring groundwater quality and identifying industries in the area and their proposed contribution to groundwater pollution. It had also granted MPCB the liberty to take the assistance of expert bodies such as the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB).

Observing that the entire issue hinged on the remedial action plan and identification of industrial units responsible for pollution, the Tribunal directed the MPCB chairman to file an affidavit on the Board’s progress in the matter.

According to the September 2014 judgment, the Tribunal had given only four months to MPCB to prepare a plan. It also directed the Pollution Control Body to execute the plan, recover costs of remedial measures, prepare a report on polluting industries, ensure that the industries achieve the desired effluent quality and pay Rs 10,000 to the National Environmental Relief Fund if a remedial plan is not produced.

Advocate Saurabh Kulkarni, intervening in the case, said the issue of pollution in Waluj was first raised by the late Raghunath Lokhare in 2002. Mr Lokhare had filed a PIL before the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court. It was subsequently transferred to the NGT when it was formed.

“Based on a report by MS University, Baroda, the MPCB started collecting a voluntary contribution from 32 big companies, which it considered to be potentially polluting,” Mr Kulkarni said. As a result, some companies approached the Tribunal contesting the ‘polluting industries’ tag. The Tribunal also expressed surprise that MPCB called for bids for the purpose of remediation of groundwater in Waluj in December 2015, based on the MS University’s report, which was only made available to the Board on January 6, 2016. Gujarat-based M/s Jyoti Hydrotech Pvt Ltd was shortlisted as the lowest bidder.

The Waluj area has about 1,520 industrial units, of which 310 are in the highly polluting or red category, the 2014 judgment stated.

The Tribunal had

also granted MPCB the liberty to take

the assistance of expert bodies

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 12:58:30 AM |

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