The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs 50 crore on the Government of Delhi for its inaction against polluting illegal steel pickling units in residential areas of the national capital as they fall under prohibited list of industrial activity.
As per the Delhi Master Plan (DMP), 2021, such pickling units, which remove impurities such as stains and inorganic contaminants from metals, fall under prohibited list of industrial activity and are not allowed in residential areas.
The NGT has also direction the Delhi government to immediately close down such illegal units.
The order followed a petition filed by the NGO, All India Lokadhikar Sangthan, with an objective of seeking compliance to NGT’s previous order that directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to act against stainless steel pickling industries in residential areas. These activities were also being carried out by various unauthorised car workshops and car mechanics in the areas surrounding Rohini. Also, such industries functioning at Wazirpur discharge effluent in open drains which ultimately fall into the Yamuna river.
The plea also noted that time was being taken by the AAP government on the pretence of decision making which eventually made the environment suffer continuously.
There exists over 90 industrial units which release effluents in the Yamuna River, according to a document submitted to NGT.
The bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel strongly criticized the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation and special secretary, industries, Government of Delhi for not closing such units and not adhering to its orders.
This matter has been heard by NGT over a few years now. In December 2017, a bench headed by acting chairperson Justice UD Salvi warned, “We direct the secretaries of environment department and industrial department to take final decision ascertaining whether the pickling industrial activity falls in the list of prohibited industry as per the parameters set by the CPCB and adopted by the DPCC or not.”
“We make it clear that a failure to comply with these directions will compel us to resort to coercive measures including the closure of the pickling industries,” the bench said.