Ghaziabad, which is part of the National Capital Region (NCR), is the most polluted industrial zone in the country, which means environment ministry will not clear any new industrial project in the booming township.
The country's pollution watchdog, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), had found the implementation of an environment management plan more than two years ago had failed to reduce pollution in eight of the 47 critically polluted clusters studied for air, land and water pollution levels.
Ghaziabad is among these clusters.
"Our evaluation shows the plans have more or less remained on paper," a senior pollution board official said. But the findings are an indictment of CPCB's functioning too, as it failed to monitor the implementation of the plan.
The ministry had imposed a moratorium on new industries in 47 clusters in 2010 on the basis of Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), a measure of air, water and land pollution.
The moratorium on most of the clusters was lifted within a year after the state governments assured greener practices.
But an assessment carried out between February and April this year found pollution levels in some of these clusters, including Ghaziabad, have not changed much. In fact, Ghaziabad in 2013 edged out Vapi in Gujarat, the most polluted industrial cluster in 2010.
Ghaziabad scored 85 on the scale of 1-100 (100 being the most polluted) compared to 84.5 for Vapi, which made some improvement since 2010, while Ghaziabad largely remained the same.
Panipat in Haryana, which also falls in the NCR, was another township with CEPI score of more than 80.
A score of more than 70 mean that an industrial area is critically polluted and needs immediate remedial measures.
The ministry also withdrew state governments' powers to make any decision in these clusters and vested with itself the powers to allow upgrade of technology to reduce environmental degradation.