Gurugram mall sealed over violation of environmental regulationsUpdated: Sep 15, 2020 00:11 IST
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) on Monday sealed the premises of a prominent mall on MG Road, which is among the city’s most recognised commercial hubs and retail destinations. Officials said that mall authorities have repeatedly violated anti-pollution norms under the Air Act (1981) and Water Act (1974) that forced the pollution control board to take action.
Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, Gurugram, HSPCB, said, “We had received a tip-off in 2018 that the mall was not adequately treating its sewage before discharge. In November 2018, we took samples from the sewage treatment plant and found that all contaminants were present in excess of the wastewater discharge standards prescribed in the Water Act. Following this, we had sent the mall authorities a notice and slapped a fine of ₹2.5 lakh as well, which has been collected.”
Despite this initial word of caution, HSPCB officials said that the mall continued to discharge its wastewater without rectifying the operational deficiencies in the STP. “We then sealed the STP itself, but mall authorities continued to operate it in violation of our notice,” Singh added.
In February this year, a second laboratory test using samples from the mall’s STP was conducted at the HSPCB’s laboratory in Gurugram, by a team of HSPCB staffers from other districts, appointed by the headquarters in Panchkula. The results showed, once again, that the proportion of contaminants in the discharged sewage were not adhering to the stipulated limits. “Action would have been taken earlier, but sealing a property requires administrative clearances which could not be processed due to the lockdown,” Singh explained.
A team of environmental engineers from the HSPCB’s regional office, including Neha Saharan and Ujjwal Kumar, arrived at the site at 7:30am on Monday and sealed the premises in the presence of duty magistrate Kartar Singh, who was appointed by the district administration.
In a statement released on Monday, the HSPCB’s regional office stated, “The violators will be fined again, and prosecuted under relevant provisions of the Air Act and Water Act. A petition will be filed with the district environmental court in Faridabad in the coming days.”
Two administrative staffers of the mall, with direct knowledge of the alleged violations, declined to comment on the matter, saying they were not authorised to speak with the press. Despite repeated attempts, the developer of the mall could not be reached for comment.