• The Jasodharpur Industrial Area, near Kotdwar in Uttarakhand, has many foundries operating without the consent of the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB).
• Local community has been protesting against the pollution from the industries.
• In June 2012, CSE conducted an environmental assessment of the area on a request from UEPPCB. It found foundries not meeting environmental norms and operating without the consent to operate.
• CSE also gave an action plan to the Uttarakhand government on how to manage the air and solid waste pollution, but no action was taken.
• CSE blames the inaction by UEPPCB and district administration for the current state of affairs.
New Delhi, February 14, 2014: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) welcomes the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) move to close down all industries in the state operating without a consent from the UEPPCB. The order has also asked the UEPPCB to file a status report before the next hearing scheduled in March. The order comes in a case filed by a resident of Kotdwar in Uttarakhand against the Jasodharpur Industrial Area (JIA).
In 2012, acting on a request from the UEPPCB, CSE had conducted an extensive environmental assessment of the area and advised the Board to regularise the foundries operating without a consent. CSE had presented an action plan to tackle the issue of air and solid waste pollution from these foundries. CSE also held meetings with UEEPCB and industry representatives as a follow-up and wrote many letters to the Board to take the matter forward. But the UEPPCB and district administration did not take any action on the report.
“We are happy that finally the law is taking its course. If the UEPPCB and district administration would have paid heed to the CSE report, things did not need to go to the court,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE. “The pollution control board has the authority to stop operations of any plant that does not meet the norms and does not have the mandatory consent. The state board failed to exercise its authority,” he adds.
In fact, the UEPPCB’s inaction propelled the community to go to court and file a petition at NGT.
The JIA is a cluster of about 20 steel-making factories using induction furnaces. Local communities have been protesting against the air and land pollution in the area due to JIA for about four years now. The community, in its protest in December 2011, had demanded that the environmental assessment of the area be carried out by CSE.
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