BENGALURU: Residents living around the Graphite India Limited (GIL) factory in Whitefield have been able to breathe easy since the end of last month as the GIL factory, which they allege has been polluting their neighborhood, seems to have gone quiet for now. On September 19, the residents, along with Member of Parliament, PC Mohan, had visited the offices of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and demanded that the board carry out an inspection of the factory premises.
Accordingly, the KSPCB Chairman visited the factory the next day, and issued a notice to the factory. A KSPCB mobile monitoring van has also been visiting the spot intermittently and recording pollution data. However, residents, who have their own monitoring network in place, say that on days when the KSPCB van is present, pollution levels are quite low. On other days, however, the situation is back to normal.
“The KSPCB van was in place for a few days after the chairman’s visit, and then returned a few days later. If you check pollution levels on days when the van is not there, it is high,” said a member of Whitefield Rising and part of the community fighting against the pollution in the area.
Now, residents are worried that the KSPCB will not file the correct report as its readings do not show high levels of pollution. The group had also raised the issue of the factory operating without a valid permit from the KSPCB and filed a police complaint against the factory in the Mahadevpura Police Station. Speaking to CE, Lakshman, chairman, KSPCB, said that the board had issued a notice to the company. “They are yet to respond to our notice and based on this, we will take action. If they choose not to respond, then we will have to take action against them.”
According to residents, the GIL is given a consent to operate on a yearly basis, since complaints were raised against it in 2012. The licence to operate for the current year ended in June this year, and according to MP Mohan, the KSPCB had given an assurance that the licence would not be renewed if GIL was found to be polluting the neighbourhood.
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