Final Effluent Treatment Plant in Ankaleshwar fails to meet prescribed GPCB norms

wastewater
Waste water from an industrial unit in Ankaleshwar

In a letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, senior environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti have sought cancellation of the Consolidated Consent and Authorization (CC&A) and closure of the Narmada Clean Tech (NCT), Ankleshwar as the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) for consistently not being able to meet the prescribed Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) norms since its inception. Text:

The consistent violation of the prescribed norms of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) by the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) of Narmada Clean Tech of Ankleshwar (NCT) since its inception is publicly well known.

In such circumstances, we request that the MoEFCC to inform us of the law under which the illegal effluent discharge from the NCT is allowed to be released despite not meeting the prescribed norms of GPCB.

We are extremely concerned that the MoEFCC is openly allowing NCT to violate environment laws.

The latest investigation results of October and November 2016 clearly indicate that even when moratorium of Ankleshwar and Panoli was lifted it was admittedly not able to meet the prescribed GPCB norms. The typed copy of the report is attached at the end of the letter.

The Narmada Clean Tech (NCT) formerly known as Bharuch Eco Aqua Infrastructure Ltd. (BEAIL); earlier a private company is now a subsidiary company of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC). The GIDC is a statutory corporation and 100% owned by Government of Gujarat. The NCT is also a joint venture of Member Industries of Ankleshwar, Jhagadia and Panoli Industrial Estates.

The NCT is claimed to be intended to receive treated industrial effluent from Ankleshwar, Jhagadia & Panoli Industrial Estates, common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) and to “treat” it at Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) upto prescribed norms of GPCB  and then to convey through 52.76 Kms. pipeline into the sea.

The FETP, from its inception till date, has never performed per the prescribed norms set by the GPCB. Shockingly and surprisingly the same plant’s disposal pipeline project was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi, now Prime Minister of India on January 25, 2007. By inaugurating this plant, Mr. Modi sent out a message to industry and new investors that compliance with environment laws was a trivial matter in the state.

The pipeline project of Final Effluent Treatment Plant of Ankleshwar was built with the tax payers’ money. Out of a total project cost of Rs. 131.43 crores, the industries paid only Rs. 21.75 crores (about 17%); the rest of the expense (Rs. 109 crores) was borne by the Central Government, the Gujarat Government, and the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) – all of which ultimately draw from public money. It is a familiar story: the profits are distributed privately, but the institutional costs and environmental burden are borne by general public. This is the perfect example of the privatisation of profits and the socialisation of the costs, burdens and hazards. Why does government disburse the cost to tax payers when industries pollute?

It is also in the public domain that the 52.97 Kms pipeline which carries the effluent from NCT to the sea for discharge regularly has many times been broken and that lead to illegal discharge into Amla Khadi which at the end meets the Narmada River and much time into the farms lands of the farmers of various villagers.

Repeated complains of the farmers are deliberately ignored.

If you do not act immediately, it will give clear indication that you as an authority are well aware about these facts yet you have taken conscious decision to illegally allow such blatant violation of environment laws.

We implore that you respect environmental laws. Any action to contrary will be tantamount to committing an extra-legal ‘encounter’ of the environment laws.

We trust you will truly try to implement environmental laws of the country in letter and spirit.

Kindly also provide us the crucial information, under which environment law Tadgam Sarigam Pipeline, from Vapi CETP, from FETP – Ankleshwar, ECP-Vadodara, and CETPs of Ahmedabad are allowed to discharge their effluent in to the water body even though the effluent is not able to meet the prescribed GPCB norms.

Keeping in mind the above alarming facts and reality which is not under dispute, we can surely describe the grave situation as a “chemical emergency”.  In order to reduce further harm to the people and environment, the following immediate steps should be taken:

  • The concerned authority should immediately cancel the Consolidated Consent and Authorization (CC & A) of  Narmada Clean Tech (NCT).
  • The concerned authority should immediately issue a closure notice to Narmada Clean Tech (NCT).
  • The concerned authority should take exemplary action including cancellation of ‘Environment Clearance’ (EC) against all the defaulting polluting industries and their main owner and responsible officers of these industrial estates.
  • A committee should be appointed to assess the ongoing damage and the damage of the past to quantify and pay the real compensation for the damage done to the villagers.
  • An immediate short and long term plan should be made for remedial measures to decontaminate the ground water based on the “Polluter Pays Principle”.
  • A high level committee of the MoEFCC, CPCB, GPCB, local state authority, representatives of affected villagers and the representatives of the voluntary organizations working in this area on environment should be appointed to do day-to-day monitoring of the area.

We expect your prompt immediate response in the interest of life, livelihood and environment of the area.

Click HERE for COD report of water before and after effluent treatment in Ankaleshwar, Panoli and Jhagadia industrial areas. Copy of the letter sent to the Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat; the Additional Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment Department, Government of Gujarat, Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB); Member Secretary, CPCB, Chairman, GPCB; Member Secretary, GPCB; Zonal Officer, CPCB, Vadodara; Regional Officer, GPCB, Ankleshwar; and Chairman, Narmada Clean Tech (NCT), Ankleshwar

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