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764 industries grossly polluting the Ganga: Centre (April)

 There are 764 grossly polluting industries in the five States on the main stem of the Ganga and its tributaries which are marring the water quality in the rivers, the Centre and its Ministry of Environment & Forests have said while expressing hope that their Gangetic Dolphin Conservation Plan together with Mission Clean Ganga would yield favourable results. In an affidavit filed before the National Green Tribunal, which is hearing a petition filed by Krishnakant Singh highlighting the pollution being caused in the Ganga by Simbhaoli Sugar Mills and Distilleries in Ghaziabad, the Government said its National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has inspected 456 of the 764 grossly polluting industries (GPIs).


It said under NGRBA programme, a project on pollution inventorisation, assessment and surveillance has been sanctioned to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which has already identified 764 grossly polluting industries (GPI) in five States on the main stem of the Ganga and its tributaries, Kali-East and Ramganga. “Out of 764 GPIs, 456 have been inspected under NGRBA programme by CPCB from August 2011 to August 2013 and action has been taken against the non-complying industries by CPCB,” the Government said. Denying allegation that it has not acted against Simbhaoli Sugar Mills, MoEF submitted that Simbhaoli Distilleries also falls under GPIs. The Ministry added that though it had taken several steps to check pollution in the Ganga, the main role of inspection and monitoring comes under the purview of the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards.


On the last hearing, NGT had termed Simbhaoli Sugar Mills and Distilleries “serious polluters”. On the petition alleging that the discharge from the Simbhaoli drains is also affecting dolphins and other aquatic life, the Ministry said: “A Gangetic Dolphin Conservation Plan has been prepared by a working group of experts. To provide necessary advice and guidance to the Ministry in implementation of the Action Plan, an advisory committee has been constituted by the government under the chairmanship of Professor R.K. Sinha, member NGRBA. The implementation of the Action Plan together with NGRBA programme for Mission Clean Ganga is poised to create favourable conditions for proliferation of dolphins.” The affidavit said CPCB has reported that all the three industries – Simbhaoli Sugar Mills, Simbhaoli Distilleries and Gopal Jee Dairy – were inspected on September 4, 2013, when Simbhaoli Sugar Mills was not found in operation due to off-crushing season. The distillery division and Gopal Jee Dairy were found not complying with the standards for effluent disposal.


CPCB has issued directions under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act to these industries. Since crushing season has now commenced, CPCB has been asked to make spot assessment of the area including collection of samples from the outlet of all three industries, drains and conduct appropriate testing and analysis for their compliance with the required standards to get an overall assessment and take necessary action against erring industries within four weeks.

Hindu, Delhi, Tuesday 29th April 2014