The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to check dumping of toxic sewage into the Ganga in Kanpur and imposed a penalty of Rs 280 crore on 22 tanneries for causing water polution. UP CM Yogi Adityanath has taken note of the development and has directed the state chief secretary to convene an urgent meeting. He has also sought a report in this regard.
According to reports, a bench comprising NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had also held UP responsible for the discharge of toxic waster and slapped over a penalty of Rs 10 crore to the state government. It noted the state government was liable to deposit the penalty in an escrow account for the restoration of environment and public health.
Meanwhile, the green panel held UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) responsible and ordered it to pay Rs 1 crore for failing to curb dumping of toxic pollutants in the river water. UP Jal Nigam has also been instructed to pay Rs 1 crore in penalty for releasing untreated sewage in Ganga. The penalty has to be deposited within a month and to be monitored by the state chief secretary.
Besides, the NGT has ordered that a health study must be conducted in Kanpur by experts, including a nominee of the ministry of health.
Meanwhile, a senior UPPCB official claimed the NGT order was actually based on old data and does not pertain to the tanneries in Kanpur.
“The area referred to in the NGT order is in Kanpur Dehat and not Kanpur City, while the tanneries are located nearly 50 km away from the spot. The effluents were dumped by now defunct chemical units and not tanneries,” he told Business Standard.
Further, he claimed that most of the tanneries in Kanpur continued to be closed for not conforming to the stringent pollution norms. There are about 267 tanneries in Jajmau area of Kanpur.
Kanpur leather industry, including tanneries and goods manufacturers, is estimated at Rs 12,000 crore. It provides direct and indirect employment to a million people in Kanpur and Unnao districts. This cluster generates Rs 6,000 crore worth of exports to the Gulf, Europe, China, Iran etc annually.