20 officials to monitor critically polluted industrial areas

20 officials to monitor critically polluted industrial areas

The Union Environment Ministry on Tuesday has tasked 20 bureaucrats to assess all critically polluted industrial zones and check if air and water clean-up measures are being undertaken properly in these industrial zones.

The officials will be assisted by technical experts from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The checking would be done for all critically polluted areas, identified by the ministry using the indigenous Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI).

The CEPI was first introduce in 2009 to screen more than 80 industrial zones, out of which 43 were found highly polluted with a CEPI score of more than 70 out of 100. Hundred denotes the maximum pollution.

The UPA government in 2010 imposed temporary moratorium in permitting new industrial units in these critically polluted units. Later, the moratorium was lifted in 28 areas in a phased manner, based on the initiation of pollution mitigation measures.

At present, the ban is in force in 7 critically polluted areas - Chandrapur (Maharashtra), Pali (Rajasthan), Ankleshwar and Vatva (both in Gujarat), Vellore (Tamil Nadu), Najafgarh Drain Basin (Delhi) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan).

These are areas, which saw barely any improvements since the first CEPI assessment in 2009.

Soon after coming to power, NDA government stayed the UPA regime’s decision to re-impose the moratorium on the remaining 8 critically polluted areas that too had similar CEPI score as the previous seven, where no new industry is allowed.

The surprise decision attracted sharp criticism from green activists, who accuse the government of bowing to pressure from industrialists.

These eight CPAs are Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Jharsuguda (Odisha), Ludhiana (Punjab), Panipat (Haryana), Patancheru–Bollaram (Andhra Pradesh), Singrauli (Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh) and Vapi (Gujarat).
DH News Service

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