The four-storey Shital Fibers unit that collapsed late Sunday night with 22 machines operating inside its premises and more than 200 labourers working at all time was not registered even with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). Post collapse and the massive tragedy,the PPCB has sprung into action by slapping notices on the Vij group.
According to sources,most of the 14 units owned by Shial Vij did not seek clearance from the PPCB,which is mandatory. Be it be the C 112 Shital export,C 121 Shital Fibers Ltd Unit 2,Shital Fibers Raja Garden Gadipur,Shital Fibers A 17,C 79 Shital Fibers (consent for which ended in 1999),C 80 Shital Fibers,Shital International Unit 2 and others none had permission to operate.
We had served him (Vij) notices for some units in the past as well. The areas where we missed,we are making sure that gaps are now filled. We can serve notices to him under the Water Act and the Air Act. In case the owners of the company fail to reply within the stipulated period,we will seal the buildings, senior environment engineer S P Garg said.
Asked whether the action was a tad too late,Garg said: These units fall under the jurisdiction of the regional office. Moreover,the PPCBs mandate is very limited. We are concerned with only the pollution part and most of the units owned by Vij fall in the green category. However,it is true that he needed to renew the permission which had expired for his units,but he gave little importance to law. Yet it is never too late to act and we too can rectify our shortcomings.
A junior officer of PPCB,however,alleged: It was not easy for any officer to enter the premises owned by Vij. The entire district administration is here and each officer can be asked whether they had ever tried to check up on this man who gave two hoots to law and the officers alike. He was well connected politically and has money power. No officer dared to check him ever.