NEW DELHI: IN a warning to polluting industrial units, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed State Pollution Control Boards to ask relevant power supply agencies to disconnect electricity supply to factories that do not put in place effluent treatment plans within three months.
A Bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul directed that the industrial units may resume their function only after they make their effluent treatments plants functional.
The apex court also said that states will have to submit reports with regard to setting up of Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETPs) to the appropriate National Green Tribunal bench. Local civic authorities may formulate norms to levy cess from users if they face financial crunch in the setting up of and running the CETPs, it added.
The norms will have to be finalised by March 31 so that it can be made applicable in the next financial year, the Bench said, adding that in case it is not done, then the respective State governments will have to bear the cost of running the CETPs.
The apex court also passed similar directions with regard to setting up of sewage treatment plant to deal with waste, other than industrial.
The Bench, however, left the issue of setting up of zero liquid discharge (ZLD) plants to the authorities concerned after they complete the first round with regard to the CETPs.
The apex court had earlier issued notice to the Centre, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Chief Secretaries of 19 states, on a plea filed by NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti on the issue of pollution of water bodies, including ground water.
Initially, the plea was restricted to only Gujarat but later its scope was expanded by the Supreme Court, which had granted a last opportunity to the states on January 16 to file their responses. The PIL had raised concerns over “massive” pollution of waterbodies across the country, including groundwater and seawater around the coast that put at risk the health and livelihood of “millions of people, and the health of animals, flora and fauna”, according to Livelaw.in.
Among several other things, the PIL had sought the court’s direction to ensure that no effluents and pollutants beyond the prescribed limits are let into any waterbody. No industrial unit be permitted to function unless it has an effluent treatment plant that meets the norms, it said.