Concerned over rampant air pollution caused by industrial units in Uttarakhand, the National Green Tribunal has constituted an expert committee to look into violation of prescribed standards for emission by iron industries in the state.
A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar pulled up the Uttarakhand State Pollution Control Board (UPCB) for failing to monitor the industries causing air pollution which already have consent to operate.
"We are afraid that if this be the state of environmental check and control of pollution by the Pollution Control Board then less say the better," the bench said.
The tribunal had on February 18 directed the UPCB to close all industrial units in Jasodharpur Industrial Area (JIA) that are functioning without the consent of the board.
The green bench constituted a special inspection team consisting of the Environmental Engineer from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), senior environmental engineer from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and officer from UPCB.
"This team shall conduct a surprise inspection of all eighteen industries carrying on the business of iron/foundry industries in that area and are allegedly found seriously polluting and it will be ensured that every industry which is inspected is operating at its optimum capacity," the bench said.
The tribunal also held that the inspection report shall clearly indicate the functioning of these units along with the stack and ambient air quality samples and the analysis be included in the report.
"It shall also be stated as to whether the slag used by these industries is being stored and how it is managed," the bench said.
According to UPCB, out of 18 industries, 10 have been granted consents to operate till 2014-2015, while the other eight have not been granted consent and their applications are pending before the board.
The tribunal's order came while hearing a petition by Shiv Prasad Dabral who had alleged that several industries are operating illegally, without consent from the state pollution control board or an environmental clearance in JIA near Kotdwar.
The petition had said that these industries are also major source of air pollution in the area and are a public health hazard.
The plea had alleged that the units have also been flouting industrial pollutant discharge norms by dumping the foundry slag on the banks of the Sigaddi Srot river.