Fighting against POLLUTION to Save Environment

Minutes of the meeting regarding water pollution problems at MIDC Industrial Area at Kurkumbh held in the Chamber of Hon'ble Minister of State for Industries, Govt. of Maharashtra on April 12, 2006 at 15.hrs.

The Hon'ble Minister of State for Industries, Govt. of Maharashtra had convened a meeting on April 12, 2006 at 15.00 hr. in his chamber at Vidhan Bhavan, Mumbai regarding water pollution problems at MIDC Industrial Area at Kurkumbh. The officials of MPCB, MIDC, Revenue and Forests Deptt. were present. Smt. Ranjana Kul, Hon'ble MLA along with villagers of Pandharwadi and Kurkumbh were also present. List of participants is placed at Annexure-1.

The Hon'ble Minister informed that, he has been receiving complaints of water pollution and smell nuisance from villagers of Pandharwadi and Kurkumbh. He also has received a representation from Smt. Ranjana Kul, Hon'ble MLA. He informed that, the meeting is convened to address the following issues, among others:

  1. Non-operation of Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in Kurkumbh MIDC.
  2. Disposal of untreated / partially treated effluent on forests land causing damage to agricultural land and contamination of ground water and drinking water
  3. Request for compensation to the villagers after assessing the damage caused by the water pollution.
  4. To provide employment to the local youth.

Smt. Ranjana Kul, Hon'ble MLA gave a brief background of the matter. She informed that, people of Pandharwadi and Kurkumbh have been agitating about pollution problems created by industries in Kurkumbh for quite sometime. She informed that, despite taking out morchas and agitations problem of pollution still persists. She informed that, due to continuous discharge of sub-standard effluent on land over the years, the land as well as the well water source is polluted.. She requested that, the farmers be adequately compensated and they may be provided free drinking water supply by MIDC.

Dr. D. B. Boralkar, Member Secretary informed that, the pollution problem of Kurkumbh is a chronic problem. He further informed that, MPCB has taken several actions during the last couple of years which include issuance of directions to the industries to upgrade their effluent treatment plants and also issued directions to MIDC to upgrade the CETP, so that desired results can be achieved. He also informed that, for the first time MPCB has filed Criminal Complaints against officials of MIDC for violating the provisions of pollution control laws. On three occasions bank guarantee was also forfeited.

Dr. Boralkar informed that, a meeting of all concern officials from concerned departments and representatives of industries was convened on 3.4.2006 at Regional Office of MPCB at Pune and specific action plan was finalized to improve situation with a period of six months. The CETP Society is now registered on 27th March 2006 and they have collected capital contribution of the member industries. He further informed that, MPCB has forfeited Bank Guarantee worth Rs. 5,000/- each from all the small scale industries. He further informed that, MPCB has issued directions of closure to M/s. Marksans Pharma Ltd., (formerly known as M/s. Tasc Pharamceuticals Ltd.,) on 26.3.2006 which is major contributor in water pollution.

Dr. Boralkar further informed that, a period of three months has been given to the CETP society to upgrade the CETP. After review of progress, additional time of three months can be considered. The LSI and MSI have been asked to discharge their treated effluent in CETP and suitable dilution is allowed before the effluent is discharged on forests land. He informed that, MPCB has decided to depute one scientist who will collect and analyse effluent samples every day. Besides this, night disposal effluent from CETP has also been prohibited. MPCB has assured to release the subsidy immediately and also agreed to issue the required Consent to Establish at the earliest.

The necessity of constitution of a local area committee was also emphasized by Member Secretary, MPCB. He stated that, such committees are doing a good job in Tarapur and Kolhapur. He further informed that, the villagers are entitled to get free drinking water supply from MIDC. He cited the decision of the Apex Court in CWP No 657 of 2003 dated 7.05.2004, wherein polluters were directed to supply fresh drinking water to the affected villages.

The representative of MIDC informed that, they have handed over the CETP to the society and will extend necessary cooperation for releasing the subsidy for upgradation. It was informed that, the villagers have not so far paid water charges which were levied at a concessional rate of Rs. 1.50 per cu.m. It was also stated that, for reducing the rates further, an item note will have to be placed before the MIDC Board for approval.

The villagers raised the issue of non-availability of fire tenders in MIDC Kurkumbh. It was stated that, M/s. Alkaly Amins Ltd. has been storing large quantity of baggase within their premises without any precautions. The Director, Fire Safety, informed that, he will depute his officers and carry out inspection and issue appropriate instructions in this regard. As regards, provisions of fire station, MIDC Board will have to take appropriate decision after considering various factors.

After due deliberations, the Hon’ble Minister of State for Industries directed that, MPCB shall issue directions to MIDC for supply of free drinking water to the villagers of Pandharwadi & Kurkumbh. MIDC will be free to recover the cost from industries by levy of additional water charges for certain period. He further directed that, MPCB shall not allow restart till the measures of pollution control are taken by M/s. Marksans Pharma Ltd., (formerly known as M/s. Tasc Pharamceuticals Ltd.,). He further instructed that, a proposal shall be placed before MIDC Board in its ensuing meeting regarding provision of fire station at Kurkumbh.

The Hon’ble Minister while addressing the villagers stated that, MPCB has taken proactive steps and the villagers shall have patience for atleast four months by which time the upgraded CETP will be installed and situation will be improved.

The meeting ended with vote of thanks to the Chair.