Directions for complete closure of industries, if found discharging effluents in the river “Indrayani”

National Green Tribunal (NGT): While coming down heavily upon the industries situated in the proximity of River ‘Indrayani’, for discharging untreated effluents in River “Indrayani” at District Alandi in Pune, NGT directed Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to take stringent action in the matter. “The industries which are found discharging effluents and contaminating water of River “Indrayani”, be directed to pay amount of Rs.5 Lakhs each, which may vary in accordance with nature of quantity of effluent, as per the report of MPCB,” observed NGT. This order of NGT was delivered while the Tribunal was hearing an application filed by an environmentalist claiming that effluents discharged by the industries were contaminating the river water. It was alleged in the application that some of the industries at Pimpri-Chinchwad and Talwade area discharge untreated effluents in the river and some local sources like ‘Dharm-shalas’, ‘Mangal-Karyalayas’ (marriage halls), and places of congregation, also generate garbage and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). It was further alleged that Alandi Municipal Council (AMC) has not taken due care and steps for disposal of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) near the river bank as the garbage generated nearby the burial ground or crematorium, is directly thrown in the river, resultantly, water of the river has become unpotable. It was also alleged that effluent discharged in water of the river has also caused adverse impact on flora and fauna and apparently many fish-stock mortality is reported due to such pollution. It was also pointed out that the State Government has granted Rs 1.70 crore fund to AMC but the authority failed to set up a solid waste management plant. After perusal of the relevant documents, NGT noted that MPCB is duty bound to ensure that the industries in the industrial area, situated in the proximity of River “Indrayani” be not allowed to discharge effluents in the river and stern action shall be taken, including closure of such industries, without any soft attitude. While observing that earlier actions like forfeiture of Bank Guarantee and giving mere directions are treated as “affirmative action”, NGT held that such polluting industries must face closure or imposition of penalty on basis of “Polluter pay’s Principle”. The Tribunal further instructed AMC to implement the action plan prepared as per the directions of the Bombay High Court for treatment and processing of solid waste within two months. AMC was also directed to pay litigation costs of Rs.10,000 to the applicant. (Sandip Badrinarayan Kayastha v. Alandi Municipality, 2015 SCC OnLine NGT 432, decided on 1-10-2015)

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