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Action ordered against illegal operation of the sealed pickling units in Wazirpur

Units were sealed in December 2018 on NGT order,
All India Lokadhikar Sangathan team found units operational during night hours

New Delhi, 16th January 2019: Sub Divisional Magistrate, Saraswati Vihar, Delhi Government has directed Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to enquire into and take action in the illegal functioning of the sealed Pickling units in the Wazirpur Industrial Area. Delhi government had sealed a total of 75 Pickling industry units on 08th and 09thDecember on NGT orders.

The All India Lokadhikar Sangathan had complained to the authorities after its team found sealed steel pickling units operational during inspection of the Wazirpur industrial area, in violation of the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT) and Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. They also found most of the units had illegally restored electricity and water lines which were disconnected during the sealing drive by Delhi government authorities.

“The authority must act to stop the brazen violation of the NGT order and stop operations of these illegal units immediately. The illegal operation of the units not only is a breach of the court order but also pose a serious threat to environment and people living in the nearby areas,” said Girish Kumar Pandey, President, All India Lokadhikar Sangathan. 

During the last hearing in the case, the Delhi government had filed a compliance report with NGT on 11 December’18 stating closure of pickling units. On 16th October, NGT fined the Delhi government of Rs.50 crore for not shutting the illegal and polluting industrial units despite its specific directions. The NGT also directed the Delhi government to shut down all 90 units in Wazirpur, SMA and Badli with immediate effect. Supreme Court did not give any reprieve to pickling unit from the sealing order by NGT in its 14 December’18 order. The tribunal had passed the order on a plea filed by All India Lokadhikar Sangthan, the petitioner in this case, along with Ashok Vihar Mitra Mandel, a resident. Stainless steel pickling units are covered in the Prohibited List of industry as per Delhi Master Plan of 2021. 

Wazirpur Industrial Area houses approximately 200 steel pickling units. These units do not carry out treatment of the waste water. The untreated harmful liquid industrial waste is released in the open drains that flow into the Yamuna River. On 7th May 2014, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had issued closure notice to 112 industrial units for discharging untreated toxic waste water. These units are a major health hazard to people living in nearby areas. Toxic gases and water released in the air and drains also threaten the natural ecosystems. The pickling process involves removing impurities from stainless steel by treating it with hot sulphuric acid solution. This waste and untreated hazardous liquid causes contamination in both the ground water, and soil and sub-soil in Wazirpur area. Toxic wastes released by industries are harmful and affect human health and aquatic life. The dangerous corrosive chemicals cause skin injuries and breathing difficulties.

NGT took up this case in October 2014 on consideration of the original application by All India Lokadhikar Sangathan. Tribunal then noted that DPCC is monitoring the situation and did not grant consent to operate steel pickling units. Since then industries were enjoying electricity and water supply connections and discharged untreated effluents in the river. 

All India Lokadhikar Sangathan has been consistently fighting for the cause of clean and pollution free river Yamuna, which has been turned into a dumping ground for all kinds of toxic waste from these pickling units.

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