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#India – SC notices to Centre, states over industrial pollution

The Times of India, Ahmedabad, 24 December 2013

Vadodara: The (SC) has issued notices to the Union government, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and 19 other states including Gujarat on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Farmers Action Group (FAG) and the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS). The organisations had sought implementation of pollution norms and implementation of the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

The PIL filed by PSS and FAG was referred to the forest bench for hearing. The bench comprising justices A K Patnaik, Surinder Singh Nijjar and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla heard the PIL and issued notice to all 21 respondents.

The PIL filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of had expressed concern over the pollution of water bodies including groundwater and sea waters around the coast, thereby putting at risk the health and livelihoods of millions of people and also the health of animals, flora and fauna. Well-known human rights lawyer Colin Gonsalves argued the PIL for PSS and FAG, according to a press release.

The PIL demands for directing the respondents to ensure that no effluents having pollutants in excess of the prescribed norms flow into any water body (including groundwater) or seep into the soil, and to ensure that no industry is permitted to function unless it has an effluent treatment plant that meets prescribed norms.

The PIL pertains to pollution in 43 of India’s most critically polluted clusters and 32 severally polluted clusters. The release adds that a nationwide studies on pollution in industrial areas were conducted in December 2009 by the CPCB and IIT Delhi and in 2011 by SGS India Private Limited, Mumbai. These studies showed that 43 of 88 industrial clusters studied in various states of India were critically polluted and 32 were severely polluted.

The release added that many industrial clusters of Gujarat came very high up in this list. The other cities were in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Delhi.

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