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Relief with rider for units

Industries in the country's 43 worst polluted areas will now have mandatory third party monitoring. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 02, 2011 00:37 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Industries in the country's 43 worst polluted areas will now have mandatory third party monitoring.

Till now, the state pollution control boards were monitoring pollution levels, but there have been allegations of corruption. Third party monitoring has been made mandatory to allay such apprehensions.

The environment ministry issued an instruction in this regard on Friday while lifting a moratorium on allowing new industries in eight industrial clusters across the country.

The moratorium was lifted after the states submitted an action plan to reduce pollution levels in industrial areas such as Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad, Indore, Junagadh and Panipat.

A moratorium was imposed on 43 industrial clusters in March 2009 after pollution levels were found to be very high on the ministry's Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index. In all, 90 industrial clusters were surveyed. The index has been opposed by coal and power ministries, who termed it "unscientific" and an impediment in setting new industries.

Despite the opposition, the ministry prescribed the condition of a detailed action plan after consulting the industry bodies for abatement of pollution before lifting the moratorium.

"The state pollution control board will monitor the implementation of the action plans as per their schedule and ensure that there is no slippage either in terms of timeframe or activities to be completed relating to the action plan," the ministry order lifting the moratorium said.

To bring transparency in the entire mechanism, the ministry had stipulated mandatory release of the results of third party monitoring for people to know the exact situation. The monitoring will be conducted by expert bodies in consultation with local representatives.

"Industrial cluster wise committee comprising of various stakeholders including representatives of locals and experts in relevant fields will be set up to oversee the implementation of the action plans," the order said.

In all, eight conditions have been imposed for allowing new projects to ensure protection of the environment.