Residents cheer as Graphite plant called a polluter

Residents cheer as Graphite plant called a polluter

the cost of pollution: Residents of Whitefield have complained that the soot discharged by Graphite India factory polluted the air and took a toll on their health.

In a big victory to citizen activism that is rapidly catching up in Bengaluru, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Graphite India Limited to compensate for the pollution it caused in Whitefield.

Residents of Whitefield, choked by pollutants spewed by GIL’s factory in the neighbourhood for decades, knocked the apex court’s doors under the banner Whitefield Rising.

On Tuesday, the court asked the company to come up with a compensation figure as per ‘the polluter pays principle’ by October 29 for the pollution caused by its plant in the Whitefield area of East Bengaluru.

Locals have been complaining that the soot discharged by the factory polluted the air and took a toll on their health.

They have been fighting the company for the past 20 years (from 1998) by challenging several National Green Tribunal (NGT) and court orders.

“This is a milestone judgment for the campaign against Graphite India as this is the first time they are being called a polluter, and the crime they have committed against the residents of Whitefield is being called out,” said a member of the movement.

Lok Sabha MP PC Mohan led the Whitefield Rising representatives in a meeting with KSPCB where he demanded the Board not to renew GIL’s license and shut down the factory.

KSPCB Chairman Lakshman said the Board wanted the factory to be closed down. “In fact, the High Court issued the closure order in 2012, which had been challenged. I’m happy with the SC order. Once we get the order copy, we’ll pass it on to the industry and issue directions to close down the factory,” he said.

 KSPCB Member Secretary Manoj Kumar said GIL had sought time till the end of October to wind up and held a meeting with the Board to discuss the closure.

“They’ve started the process of gradual closure,” Kumar noted.