Install effluent treatment plants or be shut down, SC tells industries
New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) AThe Supreme Court on Wednesday directed all industrial units situated in severely polluted areas across the country to install primary effluent treatment plants (PETP) within three months, failing which they will be shut down.
A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y.Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that the power distributing companies would disconnect the power supply companies which fail to installs PETP within three months.
The electricity supply and distribution companies “shall honour” forthwith the requests for disconnection from the State pollution control boards, it said, adding that the defaulting units will be allowed to resume operations only when they install these plants.
The court said that the industrial units that have been “disabled to carry on the industrial activity” would be allowed to resume only after they have installed the PETPA of the required capacity and clearance from the State pollution control boards, which will prioritise the critical polluting industries as a first, then move on to other areas.
In a series of directions, the court asked state pollution control boards to take criminal and civil action against defaulters.
The court said that its directions and the timeline it has set for the CETP would also be applicable for setting up of the sewage treatment plants to deal with domestic and other wastage.
It also directed the municipal corporations and other local bodies to put up advertisements to ask these industrial units to install treatment plants within three months.
The court then said that the next step would be setting up of the central effluent treatment plants (CETP).
Noting the submission by the senior counsel Vijay Panjwani, counsel for Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), that CETP takes two years to be set up, the court gave three years time to set them up, noting that finances for them are available under a scheme of the Central government. It also factored in the time that would be required for acquiring the lands for setting up of the CETP.
However, the court gave six months time to municipal bodies to operationalise the existing CETP which are lying dysfunctional on account of paucity of funds or require repairs as it made it clear that its directions would be over-riding the directions’ already issued by the National Green Tribunal.
Laying down a mechanism for the monitoring of the implementation of its directions, the courts said that these would be of no consequence until a “rigid mechanism” is laid down for their implementation.
The court order on Wednesday came on a plea by NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti that had sought direction that no industrial unit should be allowed to operate unless it was equipped with effluent treatment plant as large-scale pollution was adversely impacting the water bodies, including the ground water and the seawater around the coasts as well.