Environmental activists are up in arms against the Vapi Industries Associations writing to the Chairman of Gujarat Pollution Control Board, seeking exemptions from the implementation of the present Environment Laws in view of the Covid-19 pandemic that has “already caused losses” to businesses. In a letter to the competent authorities, the activists have raised their concern about the demeanour of the industries calling the letter “audacious and imprudent.”
In the letter to various office-bearers of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) as well as the Gujarat Chief Secretary, the activists demanded punitive action against the industries for requesting watering down of environmental laws in the garb of Covid-19 relief.
The letter says, “We not only register our strongest objections against relaxations demanded by the VIA, but also sternly demand that associations such as these be penalised for even making such requisitions…”
In its letter on May 18 to the GPCB, signed by its President Prakash Bhadra, the industrial association, emphasising on the issues faced by the industries due to the lockdown, stated, “…There is a shortage of adequate skilled ETP personnel and that may cause non-compliance in discharge norms. Also in respect of finally treated water, air emission and hazardous waste management norms, as well as in handling of plastic waste…”
The letter demanded exemption from the existing penalties for environmental default. The Association further demanded that the industries setting up new units or expanding units should also be excused from conducting the mandatory Environment Impact Assessment, calling it an “expensive process, unaffordable for small units”.
Rohit Prajapati of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti said, “It is shameful that such insincere and shallow industries are able to pressurise the authorities… It would be even more appalling if the government accepts their demand.”
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