MPCB must act against pollution of Panchganga river
Bombay High Court today said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board must take action against the industrial units which discharge untreated effluents into the Panchganga river in Kolhapur district
Mumbai: Bombay High Court today said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board must take action against the industrial units which discharge untreated effluents into the Panchganga river in Kolhapur district in western Maharashtra.
The division bench of Justices S J Vazifdar and G S Patel was hearing a public interest litigation filed by social worker Dattatray Mane and four others from Ichalkaranji, seeking criminal action against the industrial units.
The petition has also sought action against officials of municipal bodies of Ichalkaranji and Kolhapur.
At the last hearing, court had asked the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to look into the issue and suggest corrective measures.
A NEERI official today informed the court that while the institute was ready to study the pollution problem, some industrial units did not permit its experts to enter the premises for inspection.
“The MPCB has to ensure that NEERI has access to all industries in the 45-kilometre stretch of the Panchganga river and catchment area. Needless to say MPCB is bound to take action against errant industries in accordance with law,” the court said.
The court said municipal bodies of Kolhapur and Ichalkaranji would bear the cost of NEERI study.
NEERI’s team would also examine if the sewage treatment plant of the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation can deal with the problem as per the norms of MPCB.
Petitioners claim that polluted river water led to the massive jaundice outbreak in May last year in Ichalkaranji and surrounding towns, when 5,354 persons contracted the infection and 24 died.
Untreated effluents from hundreds of cloth bleaching units in Ichalkaranji, eight major industries including some sugar factories and sewage from 174 villages find their way into the river, but MPCB did not initiate action against the officials the two civic bodies, the petition says.