KOCHI: The State Government has submitted before the Kerala High Court that instructions had been issued by the State Pollution Control Board to the plywood manufacturing units to take measures to minimise pollution.
It also stated that steps had been initiated for preparing a comprehensive environment management plan for the Vengola panchayat in Ernakulam where large number of plywood manufacturing units are functioning.
The affidavit was filed in response to a petition seeking a directive to the State Pollution Control Board and Vengola Panchayat, District Medical Officer to take appropriate action against the plywood manufacturing units for water and air pollution.
The Industries Department said that the Board had already issued consent to as many as 188 units which had adhered to the norms. The number of units working without NOC from the board is 89. The board is about to issue refusal notice to Industries units which have not complied with additional measures stipulated and issue closure notice to the units.
The state government has taken detailed efforts to make the plywood industries fully comply with the environment law and forest laws. All the units had been asked to obtain licence from the departments concerned. The state said tat grace period of one year may be granted to the wood-based units to take control measures to minimise pollution.
The government will initiate action for closure of these units if they failed to comply with the control measures.
The government would ensure that these industrial units will be using only rubber wood and would not use forest wood in their units. If the industrial units were closed immediately, it will affect about one lakh people who are depending on these industrial activities directly and indirectly and government will lose crores of rupees on account of non-payment of tax.
The government said that the wood-based industrial units in Vengola are providing employment to 10,000 people directly and the entrepreneurs had invested crores of rupees for running the industrial units by availing loan from various financial institutions.