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Wazirpur steel industries flout NGT and Supreme Court orders, restart operations

All India Lokadhikar Sangathan team finds units operational

New Delhi, 05th August 2019: Within a week of NGT refusal to allow the polluting pickling facilities from operating in the residential areas of Delhi, steel pickling units have resumed normal operations in Wazirpur industrial area, blatantly violating the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT) and Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The team from All India Lokadhikar Sangathan, which inspected the Wazirpur industrial area this week, found many steel pickling units operational. “The government and the courts must act immediately to stop operations of these illegal units. The pollutants emitted by the illegal units exceed the limits and continues to be a hazard for people in nearby areas. It will be in the best interest of public health to seal these units permanently.” said Girish Kumar Pandey, President All India Lokadhikar Sangathan. 

In this matter, next hearing is scheduled on November 19, 2019 for further consideration.

In the past also, the units were found operating immediately after Delhi government filing a compliance report with NGT on 11 December’18 stating closure of pickling units.

In the past, NGT had placed a fine on the Delhi government of Rs.50 crore for not shutting the illegal and polluting industrial units despite its specific directions. Supreme Court also did not give any reprieve to pickling unit from the sealing order by NGT on 14 December’18. 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. It was after the NGT order dated 16th October’2018, the pickling units were sealed by the Delhi government authorities. Stainless steel pickling units are covered in the Prohibited List of industry as per Master Plan of 2021. 

Earlier in 2014, taking cognizance of the growing soil and water pollution in river Yamuna and surrounding areas, based on a petition filed by All India Lokadhikar Sangthan as regards Wazirpur Industrial Area, NGT had directed Delhi Pollution Control Committee to take appropriate legal action against the erring industries, which are not complying with the mandatory pollution standards.

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 in drains. These units are a major health hazard to people living in nearby areas. Toxic gases and water released in the air and in open 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 considered 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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