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National Green Tribunal questions permits given to polluting industries

NOIDA: In a case pertaining to pollution of the Ganga, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday directed UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to clarify within two days how it has been granting permits annually to a sugar mill and a dairy plant near Ghaziabad, which have been polluting the river waters continuously. The orders were issued after an inspection conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) revealed that the units were not complying with pollution control norms.

The directions were issued by the principal bench of the tribunal, headed by its chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The application has been jointly filed by a Ghaziabad-based environmental activist, KK Singh, and a Greater Noida voluntary organization Social Action for Forests & Environment. The applicants have alleged that toxic and harmful effluents released into the stretch of Ganga, between Garh Mukteshwar and Narora, have not only contaminated the river water but also threatened the life of endangered aquatic species. It has been further averred that pollutants discharged into the Simbhaoli drain have contaminated groundwater of the region.

The applicants highlighted in the petition that complaints made earlier to the UPPCB and the 
National Ganga River Basin Authority about pollution caused by the sugar mill have gone unheard. Reports on water samples from the Simbhaoli drain, analyzed by the applicants through a Noida-based private laboratory, had revealed high levels of polluting organic matter, including biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD).

The pollution control board has been asked to clarify how industries have been allowed to continue with their activities despite having been declared as harmful in 2010. The industries had also been directed to adopt measures to bring down pollution levels. The tribunal has issued these orders against Simbhaoli Sugars Ltd. and 
Gopalji Milk Food & Pvt Ltd.

Times of India (11-02-2014)