Offering a temporary reprieve to the polluting industries located on the banks of the Ganga, the government has extended the deadline for installing real-time effluent discharge meters till June 30.
But the industries have time only till this week to tell the government whether they indeed intend to do so, J S Yadav, member-secretary of the UP Pollution Control Board, told The Indian Express. The industries will have to reveal their intention by depositing 100 per cent bank guarantee for the installation, he said.
The earlier deadline of March 31 expired last week, and only about half of the total industries had begun the process of installing these meters.
“Earlier, the industries had been asked to furnish only 25 per cent bank guarantee. Those who have not done so by March 31, are being given their last chance to comply with government directives but will now have to deposit full 100 per cent bank guarantee. This they will have to do immediately to avoid action from our side. The actual installation will take some time, so the deadline has been extended till June 30,” Yadav said.
Avinash Akolkar, member-secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board, said the government will not hesitate to close down the industries which fail to install these meters on time.
“Some industries have told us that they are in the process of installing the meters. We have decided that those which have secured bank guarantees or have placed orders for the meters by March 31, would be given time to complete the process. As regarding the others, the state pollution authorities have been asked to initiate action, which can include order for closure,” he said.
Yadav, of the UP pollution board, said the industries have been given one last chance before being ordered to close down. “The idea is not close down industries but to prevent pollution of Ganga. If the industries give 100 per cent bank guarantee, even we can set up the effluent meters for them,” Yadav said.
The Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal have also given repeated directions to the industries to ensure that their effluents are not discharged into the Ganga river. On January 20 this year, the NGT had said that it would be compelled to order the closure of all the polluting tanneries around Kanpur if immediate action to prevent and control the pollution in Ganga was not taken by the industries, local municipal bodies and pollution control authorities.
Last week, the National Mission on Clean Ganga, which is implementing the plans, issued a notice to all the 118 urban local bodies along the course of river, and about 700 industries situated on its banks, asking each one of them to submit their individual action plans within the next 15 days.
This would include their plans to set up sewage treatment plants, upgrade existing ones, measures to ensure zero liquid discharge, installation of real time monitoring of effluents and dumping of solid waste into the river.