Only 257 of the 1,600-odd illegal factories in Karol Bagh, where a fire killed four people on Monday, have faced action from the North Delhi Municipal Corporation so far, officials say, blaming the “multiplicity of authorities” for the lack of action against units running out of residential premises.
While MCDs are the licensing agencies for industrial units, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee is responsible for checking the release of effluents.
An official said that most industrial units operating under the corporation’s jurisdiction use harmful chemicals and release them into drains without treatment. “Most such factories have gas cylinders, cutters and other equipment stored in small rooms with scant regard to safety,” he said.
Sources also said that more than 200 gold-purifying factories are still running in North Delhi. These use concentrated nitric acid for the purifying process and release untreated effluents into drains.
Leader of the standing committee in North Civic body, Vikas Goel, said, “There should not be any confusion over jurisdiction… the corporation, being the licensing body, also has the power to seal illegal units. I have asked for the number of units operating illegally… but they have no data…”
In 1996, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation had allotted plots away from residential areas to factory owners. However, many took those up, but continued to operate from home. North body mayor Adesh Gupta said they have taken action against illegal units several times, but they pop up again. “More such drives will be conducted,” he said.