After red road, Dombivli factories under scannerUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 00:52 IST
After a road in Dombivli Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) turned red because of chemical effluents last week, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) started a survey of the factories on Wednesday.
In a meeting held on Monday between state industries minister Subhash Desai, MPCB, MIDC and Kalyan Ambernath Manufacturers’ Association (KAMA), it was decided to survey factories and check violations. The factories will be categorised as dangerous, extremely dangerous and those following all norms.
“We started the survey on Wednesday. We will conduct surprise checks in factories. We will check if factories are complying with all norms, including fire-safety,” said Shankar Waghmare, regional officer, MPCB, Kalyan.
MPCB, MIDC, factory inspectors and fire department officials will be part of the survey.
He said, “There is no deadline to submit the report to the government as it depends on the number of factories checked. We will keep updating the findings to the minister and submit a final report at the earliest.”
In the meeting, the minister asked officials to categorise the factories and check if they comply with the environmental norms. If the factories are found violating the norms, then they would be shut.
The Kalyan Ambernath Manufacturers Association (KAMA) want to give factory owners one chance to comply with the norms.
“The minister has agreed to give factory owners one chance to comply with the norms. We will work on it. Shifting business to another city is not a solution. We urged him to first categorise the factories, check if norms are being followed and give them one last chance to comply. If a factory still does not follow norms, close it or shift it,” said Deven Soni, president, KAMA.
There are around 450 units in Dombivli MIDC, including 250 chemical units, which have been operating for more than 30 years.
Last week, during chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Dombivli MIDC road, he had asked the authorities to categorise dangerous and extremely dangerous factories in the area.
He asked authorities to take action in three steps.
First, owners will be given a chance to follow safety norms or shut the units. Second, old drains and pipelines will be repaired at the earliest. Third, chemical units located near residential areas should be shifted.
The idea of shifting of units has been opposed by KAMA members as they claimed it will affect the business and result in loss.
“The factories have been operating in Dombivli for so many years. They have their own customers and they are doing well in terms of production and sale. But if they are shifted to a new place, the owners will have to start from scratch. This will lead to loss sometimes. Also, employees will get affected,” added Soni.
The Dombivli MIDC has two phases.
The residential zone — comprising 450 housing societies, 300 bungalows, hospitals, shopping complexes, government offices and banks — is in between the two phases. The industrial area was established in 1964-65 and made space for a residential zone in 1985.
“We are not asking to shift all factories but only those which are highly hazardous. There is a need to take action against such factories. I have provided all details on how many companies exist in Dombivli MIDC to the authorities which I got through RTI,” said Raju Nalawade, social activist, Dombivli MIDC.
In May 2016, after a major blast in Probace Enterprises claimed 12 lives, an expert committee was formed, which sent a report to the state government in July 2017 after a year-long study. The report also suggested measures to curb such incidents but they were not implemented.
The committee had recorded statements of 31 individuals from government departments while preparing the report. It had listed names of companies, which manufacture toxic chemicals, to be put under major accident hazard category. It also suggested shifting the factories away from the residential zone. As per the report, five out of 437 companies in Dombivli MIDC produce extremely dangerous chemicals.
“I told the CM about the five factories which are very dangerous. He took the details and directed the officials to consider it while taking action,” added Nalawade.