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Environment ministry misses SC deadline to notify industrial norms for oxides

The ministry told the court in October that norms for SOx and NOx for nine industries had already been notified.

environment Updated: Jan 02, 2018 22:47 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Environment ministry,Supreme Court,SC deadline
(Reuters File Photo)

The environment ministry has missed a December 31 deadline of the Supreme Court to set standards for oxides of sulphur and nitrogen (SOx and NOx) for 20 industries.

The court had already imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the ministry for its failure to notify norms and for its lacklustre approach to the issue of air pollution in Delhi and National Capital Region (NRI).

“This is a completely disgusting state of affairs and hardly the way in which the ministry ought to function if it is expected to perform its duties sincerely, honestly, and with dedication,” the court noted in its October 24 order, directing the ministry to set standards for 34 polluting industries by December 31.

The ministry told the court in October that norms for SOx and NOx for nine industries had already been notified and for were not required for two others — electroplating industries and stone crushing units — as they did not emit the gases.

On December 29, the ministry notified norms for nitrogen oxides for the fertiliser and nitric acid units. But they are pending for over half of the industries. SOx and NOx contribute directly to air pollution and indirectly through the formation of secondary particles.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said it had shared draft rules for 21 industries with the ministry. For 16 industries, they were shared by June 27. For nitric acid and fertilisers, CPCB said it shared draft norms in February 2014. The ministry notified the norms for fertiliser and nitric acid over three and a half years after CPCB shared it with them. CPCB member secretary, A Sudhakar, told HT all norms had been drafted and sent to the ministry by the board.

The court directed industries to adhere to norms by December 31. “We have finalised the norms to the best of my knowledge,” said CK Mishra, secretary, ministry of environment.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 22:47 IST