HYDERABAD: It was way back in 2013 that the then government had announced that polluting industries in the city would be shifted out of the city to areas beyond the Outer Ring Road (ORR). More than five years have elapsed but not much has changed: neither have the polluting industries been shifted to alternative places nor have the pollution levels come down.
Even after the formation of Telangana state, the government has said umpteen times that industries falling in the Red and Orange categories and located within ORR would be shifted out to areas beyond the ORR but an Express survey finds that it was a mere talk by the government and nothing much was achieved on the ground. Within ORR there are 1,125 industries which fall in the two categories of polluting industries as per Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (TSIIC). While the industries continue to pollute the land, water and air of Hyderabad and its surroundings, successive governments have not delivered on their promises despite issuance of government order, GO Ms.No.20, in this regard in March 2013 by the then Andhra Pradesh government.
Speaking to Express, TSIIC vice-chairman and managing director EV Narasimha Reddy said there were three industrial parks — one each at Indrakaran in Sangareddy district, Buchinelly in Medak district and Rakamcherla in Vikarabad district — to accommodate about 100 industrial units in the sectors of textile, edible oil and steel re-rolling mills if they were to be shifted from the city areas. He also said nine other alternative sites have been identified for the shifting of remaining industrial units.
He said the shifting could be completed in a couple of months as the required infrastructure like power and roads was already in place in the industrial parks. Asked if the industrial parks had common effluent treatment plant to treat the effluents released by these 100 units, he said work on it was underway but companies can be shifted before the CETP was set up.
One cannot help but take the repeated promise of the government that the polluting industries would be shifted beyond ORR with a pinch of salt. It has been four years since the textile industrial park at Indrakaran, which is spread over 163.9 acres, received environment clearance (EC) in 2013. It has been more than one year since the edible oil industrial park at Buchinelly, spread over 214.4 acres, received EC in December 2016. The industrial park for steel re-rolling mills at Rakamcherla, proposed to be set up in 122.8 acres, has not received the EC yet.
Even though it has been more than four years since textile industrial park in Indrakaran has been established, when Express spoke with TSIIC officials it came to light that till now only five textile units have shifted to the industrial park from the city. Not a single unit of edible oil refinery unit has shifted to Buchinelly and same is the case with steel re-rolling mills.
The soil, water and air pollution within ORR is caused mostly by the 400-odd bulk drug, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries. There are also reports of serious health hazards due to the presence of high amounts of antibiotics in water bodies in and around Hyderabad and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These 400 units would be shifted to the proposed Hyderabad Pharma City at Mucherla in Rangareddy district, Narasimha Reddy said.
However, one may hazard a guess on how long it will take for these 400 units to be shifted out of the city considering the government’s failure to do so in the case of textile and edible oil units. As for the proposed pharma city, it is yet to receive environmental clearance from the central government. Only after receiving the EC can infrastructure be built and industries shifted there.
Colour coding for polluting industries
Within ORR there are 1,2125 industries which fall in the two categories of polluting industries as per
Red and Orange category industries
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has categorised industries as per their ‘Pollution Index’ score that is calculated on the basis of the kind of pollution generated by them. Industrial sectors with a Pollution Index score of 60 and above fall in the Red category and sectors with a Pollution Index score ranging between 41 and 59 fall in the Orange category.
PM10 values in Hyderabad
As per CPCB, the annual average values of Particulate Matter (PM)-10 should be 60 micrograms/metre cube (µg/m3). Given below are the PM10 values in some industrial, commercial and residential areas of Hyderabad in micrograms/meter cube (µg/m3):