“It would not be perhaps an exaggeration to say that there is an unholy nexus between erring industrial units and the concerned authorities, because despite passage of long three years, the unit is functioning without abiding by the guidelines for which it has been already served with Closure Order”
Defeating the very purpose of closure orders, the enforcement agencies of Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Committee and district administration appears sleeping over the matter as more than 200 such erring industrial units are still functioning across the Union Territory.
According to the reports, Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Committee (JKPCC) had ordered more than 385 closure orders in the past three years, but action appears to have gathered dust in files only, as more than 200 such units are still functioning.
Talking to The Typewriter, a senior official of the administration shared that in the past three years around 389 closure orders have been issued by the JKPCC.
“Some of the closure orders have been withdrawn, but many of them are still biting dust in files, as no officer from JKPCC or district administration has shown nerve to check enforcement of such closure orders,” said the official, wishing not to be named. He added that from Baramulla in the North to Kathua in the South, all the ‘erring’ industrial units, who had been served with Closure Orders, are functional.
Raising eyebrows over the alleged nexus between ‘erring’ units and the officials of JKPCC and district administration, official maintained that some cases pending since the last three years have not been acted upon by the administration.
“It would not be perhaps an exaggeration to say that there is an unholy nexus between erring industrial units and the concerned authorities, because despite passage of long three years, the unit is functioning without abiding by the guidelines for which it has been already served with Closure Order,” said official, adding that the Closure Orders issued by the JKPCC are self explanatory about the gravity of the matter, but flexibility on the part of administration is ‘unfortunate’.
Official maintained that going by the Closure Order, it is understood that the industrial unit has violated guidelines of the JKPCC, but non-implementation of orders indicate some other story.
“If the JKPCC would have been serious about the implementation of Closure Orders, it would have summoned Deputy Commissioners for an explanation, but nothing such has happened and more than 200 erring units are functional in violation of the guidelines,” said official, adding that JKPCC Chairman has the powers to issue arrest warrants against Deputy Commissioner in case the latter fails to comply.
Deputy Commissioners are actually the one, who have to enforce the order. The content of the Closure Orders directs the Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate to get the erring industrial unit closed immediately.
“The Chief Engineer, Electric & Maintenance (PDD), is directed to snap the electric supply of the erring unit and the owner is ordered to cease the operation of the unit forthwith,” shared the official, adding that despite such directions neither Deputy Commissioners act on it nor JKPCC take any further pain to check the violations.
The Closure Order also reads that no industrial unit can be installed or put in operation, without prior consent of the Pollution Control Committee, as warranted under Section 25/26 and Section 21 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 respectively.
“Most of the units have been closed after giving appropriate time to the owners to explain their part. The owner of the units were accordingly served with notices, calling upon them there under to show reasons as to why legal action including closure of the unit shall be not taken,” said the official, adding that these erring owners also failed to obtain mandatory Consent from the JK Pollution Control Committee.
Chairperson, JK Pollution Control Committee, Neelu Gera when contacted by The Typewriter, said that she will look into the matter.