Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the state would work towards bringing in green technologies for development and setting up industries.
“Our government is in favour of environment protection, and so we welcome the Centre’s move. We will look at the possibility of bringing in green technologies to improve the environmental condition and will work it out in a way that no state interests are harmed,” Chavan told HT.
Chavan was reacting to the January 13 directive issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), first reported by HT on January 16, to block environmental clearances for projects such as the Navi Mumbai airport, the second Metro line from Charkop to Mankhurd and the Trans Harbour Link from Sewri to Nhava Sheva, owing to severe pollution.
An environmental assessment study conducted by the Chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the MOEF and IIT Delhi identified eight regions in Maharashtra having critical pollution levels.
The report showed that in Navi Mumbai and Chembur, pollution has had a direct impact on more than 1 lakh people residing within 2 kilometers of the industrial areas. There was also a considerable impact on environment, such as damage to flora and fauna.
The environmental assessment report studied the air, water, land, noise quality indexes in 83 industrial areas in the country and an aggregate Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI), was worked out.
Areas with CEPI scores of 70 and above — Navi Mumbai and Chandrapur — are considered critically polluted and proposals for projects in these areas will not get environmental clearances. Those areas scoring 60 to 70 — Chembur, Tarapur, Dombivili, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik and Aurangabad in Maharashtra — are considered severely polluted and projects in these areas will be restricted for eight months, and the situation will be appraised after that.
Environment Minister Suresh Shetty has proposed to form a high-level committee of ministers to be headed by Chavan, which along with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, develop systems to find a solution for this problem.