The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has banned industrial expansion in eight industrial clusters after a latest survey showed alarmingly high pollution levels.
The ministry,in a notification on Tuesday,imposed the moratorium on environmental clearance for new industrial projects in Ghaziabad (UP),Panipat (Haryana),Indore and Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh),Jharsuguda (Orissa),Ludhiana (Punjab),Patancheru-Bollaram (Andhra Pradesh) and Vapi (Gujarat).
The moratorium,with immediate effect,was decided based on a survey conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board in all 43 identified Critically Polluted Areas in February-April this year.
According to the survey,the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) based on the Environmental Quality Monitoring conducted this year at all these eight locations was still hovering at 70-80. (See box) The move is likely to have major implications for industry growth and investment in these areas.
The CEPI method,adopted by the CPCB in 2009,reflects in numbers the environmental quality at a given location taking into account air,water and soil pollution. Areas with aggregated scores of 70 and above are considered critically polluted industrial clusters or areas,whereas those with scores between 60 and 70 are considered as severely polluted areas.
On the basis of the same survey,the moratorium was lifted from 10 other areas where the CEPI score is below 80 and has shown a decreasing trend. These include Bhiwadi (Rajasthan),Dhanbad (Jharkhand),Manali (Tamil Nadu),Ahmedabad (Gujarat),Korba (Chhattisgarh) and Asansol (West Bengal).
The CEPI scores indicates that even after a period of 2.5 years of implementation of action plans,there is no improvement in the environmental quality as evident from values of CEPI in 2013. The moratorium is hereby re-imposed with immediate effect in these eight areas till further orders, the ministry said.