BMC razes three chimneys in crackdown on polluting units | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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BMC razes three chimneys in crackdown on polluting units

ByLinah Baliga, Mumbai
Apr 07, 2023 12:57 AM IST

The BMC has demolished three illegal chimneys emitting toxic fumes near the Nahar Amrit Shakti township in Kurla and issued notices with a 48-hour deadline to close down to 15 factories in a drive to tackle air pollution in Mumbai. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had directed the BMC to shut down the unauthorised aluminium-melting factories operating without pollution controls. The BMC has initiated action under the Factories Act and has prosecuted eight cases so far. If the factories do not close within 48 hours, further action will be taken.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has in the last two days demolished three chimneys operating illegally near Nahar Amrit Shakti township in Kurla, providing much-needed breather to residents from toxic fumes. Notices have also been issued to 15 factories’ owners, with a 48-hour deadline to close down, during the ongoing drive aimed to tackle the city’s worsening air pollution.

Mumbai, India - April 06, 2023: Smoke emanating from a small chimney of one of the many small scale manufacturing units in the slums amid smoggy weather in the background, at Khairani Road, Chandivali, Andheri (East), in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, April 06, 2023. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo) (HT PHOTO)
Mumbai, India - April 06, 2023: Smoke emanating from a small chimney of one of the many small scale manufacturing units in the slums amid smoggy weather in the background, at Khairani Road, Chandivali, Andheri (East), in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, April 06, 2023. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo) (HT PHOTO)

Mahadev Shinde, assistant municipal commissioner, L ward, said, “Teams from the health, building and factories departments are already on the job. Our line of action is to raze furnaces, and chimneys emitting smoke causing air pollution. They are mainly found on Khairani road, Sakinaka.”

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There are several unauthorised galas and temporary sheds in the vicinity of the township, which melt aluminium using wood and coal and they operate without any pollution-control measures, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) had said in its order, directing the BMC to shut these establishments.

Nitin Kamble, designated officer for L ward, said, “We have initiated action under the Factories Act. We have also issued an inspection report to those units. So far, we have prosecuted eight cases, and the matter is in the civil court. In three cases, factories and chimneys have been closed. Secondly, in the last two days, we have issued 15 letters to owners/occupiers of the factories with chimneys emitting harmful fumes. Another 16 will be issued on Friday.”

Upon receiving the notices, if the chimneys or factories do not down their shutters within 48 hours, further action will be initiated without intimation, Kamble said.

“We received numerous complaints from Nahar belt and surrounding areas. The process these factories follow is to get steel and aluminium in raw form and then they melt those materials in furnaces and turn them into small pieces which can be transported. When they are heated in bulk, they emit smoke and that cannot be dispelled just by exhaust fans,” Kamble said, adding the factory owners have installed chimneys on the roofs.

Kamble further said action is being initiated mainly in Nahar region with pockets such as Chandivali, Khairani road, and Sakinaka. The team that carries out an inspection comprises an official each from the health, licence, water, building and factories departments of the BMC, and the MPCB, he added.

Arun Kumar Srivastav, who resides in Chandivali’s Yaaron tower, said more than 5,000 residents in approximately 2,000 flats are affected by the smoke from chimneys and furnaces. “We have complaints of breathlessness and respiratory problems. We had been complaining since 2017, and we welcome the BMC move.”

Shinde said L ward is challenging due to the presence of factories and chimneys operating without a licence. “We will shut these units down and notices have been issued under section 390 of the MMC Act.”

Other wards like K East that covers Andheri East and K West that has Juhu-Andheri West under its jurisdiction have already started work on their action plan and have mobilised teams.

Manish Valanju, assistant commissioner, K East ward, said a task force has been formed and work has been categorised. “Road engineers will visit construction sites, buildings and factories while solid waste management teams will carry out inspections on debris and garbage burning. A health officer and an engineer from the maintenance department will conduct checks at hotels and crematoriums. After the first visit, a notice will be issued if a violation is found. If the violation continues, penal action will be taken.”

The task force has been advised to submit a weekly report and assistant commissioners will present them on 5th and 20th of every month to Sanjeev Kumar, additional municipal commissioner.

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