- The tannery units were warned of action if they did not abide by rules
- MC Mehta said that more than 60,000 tonnes of chromium waste was in Kanpur
- Government spent more than Rs 7,000 crore in two years to clean the Ganga
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has rapped the tanneries located in and around Kanpur over the delay in setting up of common effluent treatment plants (CETP) and directed them to contribute 25 per cent of the cost as per its direction. A bench headed by acting Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim warned the tannery units in Jajmau, Unnao and Banthar that if they fail to abide by its order, appropriate action would be passed against them.
“As far as the CETP is concerned at Jajmau, Unnao and Banthar, the CETPs are not established …. it is stated the tannery industries have failed to contribute 25 per cent of the contribution. We caution the industries that they will be dealt appropriately if they fail to contribute 25 per cent of their contribution to the CETP establishment exclusive of cost of the establishment of that CETP. However, we direct all concerned to ensure that CETP at Jajmau, Unnao and Banthar are established and the process is expedited and the report in this regard be filed by the industries on the next date of hearing,” the bench said.
The order came after the counsel for the tanneries submitted that there was a meeting in which they voluntarily agreed to cooperate and make a contribution of Rs 137 crore for the upgradation of the pre-treatment plant and apart from it they will also pay Rs 25 crore. The lawyer appearing for the state pollution control board told the bench that a huge dump of waste was lying at Kanpur and Rs 23.50 crore in the ratio of 60:40 per cent was required to remove it. The green panel directed the Uttar Pradesh and Centre to file an affidavit by July 27, the next date of hearing, stating the time by which the amount can be released for waste removal.
Advocate M C Mehta, who has filed plea for cleaning of Ganga, said that more than 60,000 tonnes of chromium waste was lying in Kanpur and polluting the environment.
“Be that as it may, we shall have to consider this issue at subsequent stage and proper directions will be passed. We are adjourning this case granting one more month time to all the stakeholders to ensure that the directions are complied with and report be filed by the next date of hearing,” the bench said.
In a detailed judgement, the green panel had directed the industries to contribute finances not exceeding 25 per cent of the total cost in relation to the construction, up gradation of sewage treatment plant, CETP and providing common infrastructure. Regarding shifting of tanneries located in Jajmau cluster in Kanpur, the bench had sought an action plan from the leather units within six weeks, failing which “the UP government shall be duty bound to close the tanneries and shift the same to Banthar, Unnao or any other developed site which it considers appropriate.”
It had passed a slew of directions to rejuvenate Ganga, declaring as ‘No Development Zone’ an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river between Haridwar and Unnao and prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres from the river.
The tribunal had said the government has spent over Rs 7,000 crore in two years to clean the Ganga which still remains a “serious environmental issue”. The NGT judgement had said “till the demarcation of floodplains and identification of permissible and non-permissible activities by the state government of this judgement, we direct that 100 metres from the edge of the river would be treated as no development/construction zone between Haridwar to Unnao in UP.”
‘No-development zones’ are areas where no construction including commercial or residential buildings can come up. It had also completely prohibited disposal of municipal solid waste, e-waste or bio-medical waste on the floodplains or into the river and its tributaries. The tribunal reiterated its earlier order of ban on mechanical mining in Ganga and said “no in-stream mechanical mining is permitted and even the mining on the floodplain should be semi-mechanical and preferably more manual”.