The National Green Tribunal has directed a unit run by Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages’ (HCCB) at the Masuri-Gulawthi Road Industrial area near Dhaulana in Hapur district to submit its drainage map and plans as well as particulars about its sewage and trade effluent discharge.
The directions came on a petition filed by Ghaziabad resident Sanjay Kumar who claimed some industries were illegally discharging untreated waste water into a pond located in the industrial area. He had requested the court to heavily penalise the polluters and order preventive steps.
Though Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages was not a party to the case earlier, it appeared before the tribunal during a hearing on December 11. The tribunal had also directed HCCB to be a party in the case.
“Certainly, they appear to have some interest in the matter about which we do not comment at this stage before the role of the factory in the present case is clear,” the tribunal said in an order.
Earlier, the NGT had told the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to inspect the pond and submits reports on effluents entering it.
The physical inspections were conducted by UPPCB and CPCB on July 30 and October 19, respectively. The joint inspection report said the pond is man-made and was receiving effluents only from the HCCB plant. “It is learnt that the facility is constructed by HCCB to discharge its treated effluents through a well established network of underground pipelines from the industry to the pond,” the report stated.
The report said the quality of water was not complying with the general standards and the reasons may be attributed to “discharge of partially treated or untreated effluents from Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages.”
“Alarming facts as regards the situation obtaining in the factory of Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd are disclosed in the report of CPCB dated October 19. Before we pass any directions against the company, it will be just necessary to seek the response of HCCB on this report in context with the UPPCB’s report,” the tribunal said.
The tribunal directed the UP board to take measures in the interest of environment. The pond is located nearly a kilometre from the industrial area amid agricultural fields, where heavy discharge of water continued till Friday when HT visited the area.
The company said it had voluntarily impleaded to be a party and was directed to file a response to the UPPCB and CPCB reports before January 14, 2016. “Since its inception, our plant has been operating under all requisite government licenses/ registrations/approvals including those in relation to air, water and hazardous waste. Every material aspect of the functioning of the plant was accordingly subject to the scrutiny of the appropriate regulatory authorities and we have ensured compliance to the same at all times,” HCCB said in a statement on Friday.
It said that UPPCB tested water from their treatment plant periodically and that the company never received any complaints about not meeting the prescribed standards.