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HC raps CPCB,asks how samples were collected when meat unit was closed

The conduct of the Central Pollution Control Board came under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday during the resumed hearing of a petition concerning the alleged pollution being created by the Punjab Meats Limited.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh |
March 4, 2009 4:53:09 am

The conduct of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) came under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday during the resumed hearing of a petition concerning the alleged pollution being created by the Punjab Meats Limited (PML).

As contended by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB),the court questioned the CPCB as to how it had taken samples of the effluent treatment plant (ETP) when the industry was not functional and its slaughter house was closed.

“What have you done? How did you take the samples when the unit was closed? Why didn’t you ask the industry to start the unit? Even if the industry had deliberately shut down the unit,you should have approached us,we would have passed an appropriate direction,” Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur asked the CPCB counsel.

The Bench also asked about the officials who had gone to inspect the unit and had submitted the report.

The issue was raised by Advocate A R Takkar,counsel for the PPCB,who was asked to reply against the report submitted by the CPCB. As per the counsel for PML,the CPCB had not spotted any deficiencies with the functioning of PML and had only given recommendations for improvement. Since the court held a contrary view and termed the seven recommendations as deficiencies,a report was sought from the PPCB.

Takkar said the industry had been given sufficient time to improve,but to no avail. “A rope is given to them,when they reach the end of the rope,they tie a knot and start another one,” Takkar submitted while questioning as to how samples were taken by the CPCB when the unit was closed and the slaughter house was not functional. “How can the CPCB examine the efficiency and functioning of ETP when the unit is closed?” asked Takkar.

Strongly contesting the averments,senior advocate Ashwani Chopra,counsel for PML,said: “There are no deficiencies pointed out by the CPCB. The unit creates no water or air pollution. It is a 100 per cent export unit and is earning revenue for the state.” He added that of the seven recommendations given by CPCB,five have already been taken note of and will be implemented soon. Open to scrutiny,Chopra submitted that anybody can be sent to the unit for inspection.

Taking note of the contentions of the two parties,the Bench has directed the CPCB to submit a report about the samples taken by March 18. Moreover,the PPCB has also been asked to take samples of the industry and submit a report by the same date.

Hookahs in eateries: HC shoots notice to MC commissioner
The Punjab and Haryana High Court,on Tuesday issued a notice to the Municipal Corporation (MC) Commissioner in the ongoing case concerning hookahs in eateries.

It was after senior standing counsel for the UT Administration,Anupam Gupta,brought to the notice of the court that the power to grant licences to eateries and restaurants lies with the Municipal Corporation,that Dr Roshan Sunkaria was issued the notice. The Bench,headed by Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur,reiterated that there should not be a lawless system in the city.

“You must have a licencing authority. It is a statutory mandate,” observed Justice Hemant Gupta.

The court has also asked the UT Administration to state as to whether there is any record of issuing any such licences and whether the Municipal Corporation has at any stage taken steps to prohibit hookahs from functioning and the time frame within which it can be done. Gupta has,meanwhile,sought time to take up the issue with the authorities concerned.

On the last date of hearing,the court had expressed its disapproval and surprise over the ‘absence’ of any licencing authority for issuance of licences to eateries and restaurants.

The directions were passed in wake of a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding action against the coffee bars,which are allegedly providing ‘drugs’ to teenagers.

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