While responding to an RTI query from The Indian Express, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) stated that it has taken action against 30 entities for not having a Sewage Treatment Plant, including malls, commercial establishments and housing societies. Of the 30, 19 had been pulled up by the MPCB, which had also issued notices to them.
Housing societies with more than 120 flats, malls and commercial establishments that generate a substantial amount of sewage are mandated by the rules to set up STPs. The MPCB conducts regular visits at these sites and in case the board finds a violation, legal action is taken, said officials. Showcause notices are issued, and in case of an ineffective response, court cases are also filed. Till date, legal action has been proposed in five cases.
After inspection of La Creasta — a project by Paranjape Schemes Ltd on December 20, 2016 — in Sopanbaug area, the MPCB had served a notice to it, although the 100 cubic metre per day (CMD) capacity was found working.
In response to an official query by The Indian Express, an official of Paranjape Schemes confirmed the receipt of the notice. “In case of the STP at La Cresta, we had catered to all the mandatory requirements, against which we had received the EC (Environment Clearance) dated 27.12.2007. “… after completion of the project, we also got a ‘Consent to Operate’, dated 29.04.2011, from MPCB. The project was then handed over to the residents by forming an apartment body.
Since then, it is the apartment body that is maintaining and operating the STP. STP maintenance and its operations have to be checked and monitored regularly and MPCB officials also make visits to keep a check on them and certify it at specified intervals. Till 20.12.2016, the MPCB officials have certified the STP at La Cresta without raising any objection or suggestion.”
“After MPCB board officials visit on 20.12.2016 last year, we received a letter / notice from the MPCB office dated 3.02.2017 saying that we should provide UV/Ozonisation system for disinfection. We have taken immediate action to that effect and have replaced the old system of dosing by hypochloride for disinfection with the latest UV technology. This has also been informed to the concerned authority in writing and the project residents are using 60 per cent of the recycled water for flushing and gardening purposes,” the official said.
The MPCB had also issued a notice to the Kalyani Nagar-based Trump Towers of the Panchshil Realty and Developers Private Limited on March 10. The notice followed a visit to the project on December 20, when Board officials found that the project did not have an STP. Panchshil Realty has a branding partnership with The Trump Organisation, the holding company of all business ventures of US president Donald Trump.
Officials of Panchshil Realty pointed out that while it was mandatory only for projects that have more than 120 flats, the project in question had only 46 apartments. However, an STP was provided to the project in June, following the notice.
Similarly, Ishanya Mall in Yerwada was served a notice on February 10, 2017, after a visit by officials. The STP at the mall was found to be functional during the visit. Responding to a query by The Indian Express, officials from Ishanya said they have not received any notice or communication from the authorities.
“Our adherence to compliance is extremely high and we respect the authorities for their routine visits and inspection at Ishanya Mall. The most recent inspection happened as recently as January 17 and there has been no adverse observations in their report,” said the official.
Civic activist Vivek Velankar said the Pune Municipal Corporation must conduct annual inspections of the housing societies, to check if they had functional STPs. “The PMC provides them with a tax benefit of 5 per cent in lieu of working STPs. It’s their duty to check if the STPs are in working condition,” he said.