The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has stopped the free online registration of non-polluting white category industries, after it came to light that a section of such units, operating from nonconforming areas, were misusing the facility to get themselves registered illegally without paying any charge. Now owners of even white category industries would have to pay a registration fee of ₹10,000. The DPCC will change its online software to ensure industries from nonconforming areas will not be able to register at all.“Owners of white category industries are required to register themselves online with DPCC. But as the registration was free for such white category industries, owners of several units, which were not entitled for registration as they were operating from nonconforming areas, were taking advantage of the facility,” said an official. The decision to introduce a registration fee of Rs 10,000 for all white category industries, officials said, would act as a deterrent. White category industries, introduced by the union government in 2016, are the least polluting among other categories – red, orange and green. The red category industries are the most polluted. White category includes 36 types of units such as bicycle and baby carriage makers, cotton and woollen hosieries, organic manure and surgical and medical products assembling units among others. “As they are non-polluting, owners of white category industries do not require consent to establish or consent to operate from DPCC. They were just required to submit an undertaking to Delhi Pollution Control Committee and consent was automatically generated. The MCDs were required to check auto approval before giving licence,” said a Delhi Pollution Control Committee official. Even though they are non-polluting, according to Delhi’s master plan and earlier court orders, no industrial units can come up in nonconforming areas. They can operate from designated industrial and redevelopment areas. “The auto approval was given supposing that these white category industries were operating from industrial zones and redevelopment areas. Now we are planning to also bring some changes in the online registration software so that even auto approval would be denied if the industry is operating from a nonconforming area, which is ideally a residential area,” said an environment department official of the Delhi government.