In a first, 910 industries in Delhi fined by government for toxic effluents in drains
In its first-ever drive against illegal discharge of industrial waste, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (DSIIDC) has fined 910 industries for directly releasing toxic effluents into drains.
The action is part of a survey that is currently under way in Delhi to identify the number of industries that are still not linked to a common effluent treatment plant (CETP), despite rules asking them to do so.
“It is a first that an agency has started to map industries and their linkages to CETPs in Delhi. In a report submitted to us on Monday, the DSIIDC said, until February 15, it inspected 7,794 units out of which show-cause notices have been issued to 956 for effluent release violations,” said Shailaja Chandra, member of a monitoring committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal last year to clean the river Yamuna.
BS Sajwan, the other member of the NGT-appointed committee, said a small stretch that covers less than 2% of the Yamuna accounts for 76% of the river’s pollution in the national Capital.
“This 2% stretch, which is from Wazirabad to Okhla, sees the maximum discharge of untreated industrial and domestic waste. Domestic waste, despite being huge, is still far less harmful. The real contributor in making the Yamuna toxic is untreated industrial waste, which contains mercury, lead and ammonia,” Sajwan said. Delhi has over 30,000 industrial units in conforming areas. No government agency has a count of industries that are operating illegally in residential areas.
According to DSIIDC chairman and managing director Mohanjeet Singh, the state-run company has intensified its drive by imposing fines on non-complying industries. “Out of the 956 units that have got the notices, 910 have been slapped with fines of at least ₹50,000 each for releasing industrial effluents directly into drains and the river Yamuna. Until February 15, we collected ₹47.50 lakh from 95 units,” he said.
Singh said the corporation will write to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) next week to withdraw the consent to operate certificates of the remaining 815 industries if they do not pay up. “We have already sealed more than 40 units for blatant violation and non-compliance even after the grace period given to them through the show cause notices. Besides, electricity connections in about a dozen industries have been disconnected,” he said.
The DSIIDC said maximum violations were found in Bawana industrial area, which has about 15,000 functional industries – the highest of all areas in the national capital. Inspections were carried out in Narela, Wazirpur, Jhandewalam, Shahdara and Patparganj as well.
In December last year, the monitoring committee had objected to the capacity utilisation of common effluent treatment plant, which it said is as low as 25%. On Wednesday, the committee and the DSIIDC said the effluent load of the CETP in Bawana, at least, increased by about 300% due to “tightening of the noose” in the industrial area.
There are 28 industrial clusters in Delhi and 17 of these are connected to 13 CETPs. The remaining 11 clusters are not connected to any CETP, the monitoring committee had said in its December, 2018 report.
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