Miffed NGT slaps Rs 280 crore fine on 22 Kanpur tanneries in UP for dumping chromium in Ganga
NGT also made the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) liable and directed it to pay Rs 1 crore for ignoring illegal discharge of sewage and other effluent containing toxic chromium directly into Ganga.
LUCKNOW: While slamming the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to check pollution levels in Ganga owing to the discharge of sewage into it, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs 280 crore on 22 Kanpur tanneries for causing pollution.
The NGT claimed that the sewage being discharged into the river at Rania and Rakhi Mandi contained toxic strains of chromium.
The NGT bench comprising tribunal’s chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, also slapped the state government with a fine of Rs 10 crore for failing to check the pollution.
The Tribunal also made the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) liable and directed it to pay Rs 1 crore for ignoring illegal discharge of sewage and other effluent containing toxic chromium directly into Ganga.
Even UP Jal Nigam faced the NGT wrath as it has also been made liable to pay Rs 1 crore penalty for letting untreated large quantity sewage into the Ganga.
Reprimanding the state authorities including the UPPCB for inaction, the tribunal claimed it had led to the contamination to seep in and pollute even the groundwater, thereby, affecting the health of inhabitants and fauna.
However, reacting to the NGT crackdown, Asad Kamal Iraqi, general secretary, Kanpur Leather Welfare Association, felt that it would damage the prospects of the leather industry of Kanpur further as it was already gasping for the last two years. He claimed that the tanneries had been complying with all the environment norms.
The Tribunal claimed that the amount of environment compensation of Rs 280 crore was assessed by the State Pollution Control Board. The respective dispensations had hardly done anything to keep the Ganga pollution levels under check in Kanpur during the last 43 years, it further added.
It has directed the state government to deposit the assessed amount in an ESCROW account for the restoration of the environment and the public health in the area under the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’.
The penalty may be deposited with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within a month under the supervision of UP chief secretary, directed the tribunal.
Notably, the UP government had ordered closure of all 264 tanneries based in Unnao and Kanpur due to pollution concerns in December 2018. The state government had taken the step also to ensure cleaner water in the Sangam City of Prayagraj during Kumbh -2019.
After a shutdown of 7-8 months, around 101 of 264 tanneries were allowed to resume operations but strictly within the NGT norms. However, the rest are still closed.