APSPCB issues conditional closure order to M/s Shree Salasar Industries Pvt Ltd for environmental norms violation, causing public health hazard

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[ Amar Sangno ]

ITANAGAR, Sep 23: The state pollution control board on Monday issued ‘a conditional closure order’ to M/s Shree Salasar Industries Pvt Ltd, a smelting industry at Lekhi, Naharlagun for “gross violation of environmental norms, causing public health hazard.”

The conditional closure order from the Arunachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board (APSPCB) came after a three-member team, including member secretary Koj Rinya carried out an inspection on 4 September.

M/S Salasar Smelting  Industries is a ferroalloy manufacturing industry having 11 MVA and 8.5 MVA submerged electric arc furnace, which is provided with cyclone separator, bag filter and a stack of height 30 M from GL.

“Air pollution control devices (APCD) were not properly functional, resulting in huge fugitive emissions to the surrounding areas and hazardous waste such as silica dust, which were not labelled or stored properly,” the APSPCB observed.

“Green belt around the industry premises were also not developed, which is a gross violation of the environmental and industries norms, causing public health hazard,” it said.

Invoking Section 33A of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Section 31A of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the state regulatory body ordered for immediate closure of the industry till the pollution control devices are properly installed in full working conditions as per prescribed norms.

It also directed disconnection of the electricity supply forthwith.

Earlier, the board had issued a show cause notice to the industry on 7 September based on the observations during inspection.  The board stated that the reply furnished by the industry on 14 September was found to be “far from satisfactory.”

The board also pointed out that contrary to the industry’s claim in its reply that “the pollution control devices are properly operational except indicator bulbs on the control panel,” it was observed that maximum emission was discharged from furnace stack as opposed to stack of pollution control devices which had negligible emission, which indicates that the APCD of the industry are not functioning pro-            perly.

“The industry has made false claims in its reply that the hazardous wastes are properly labelled and stored, green belt was also developed earlier by planting of 180 saplings, without any photographic or documentary evidence,” the board stated.

As per the central pollution control board (CPCB) guidelines, an adequate green belt has to be developed by planting 1500-2000 trees capable of absorbing air pollutants and forming sinks for pollutants.

The board also stated the report submitted by the industries on measures to reduce emission, records of hazardous waste generated and disposed by the factory with relevant records/registers which was sought by the board was found unsatisfactory.

“The industry in its reply could not furnish a single step taken to reduce the fugitive emissions and instead informed that complete up gradation and modernization of the existing pollution control devices with latest technology is being done, which on its own establishes that the APCD are not working properly,” the board added.

The industry in its response had claimed that the upgradation and modernisation of existing pollution control system with latest technology has already been initiated  and the  proper maintenance of the existing pollution control system/ equipment, check in the quality of raw materials are being practically undertaken to reduce  the emission.

It also claimed that the industry has planned for further plantation to increase the existing green belt.

Earlier, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Talo Potom had also passed conditional order on 19 August, 2020 for removal of nuisance, construct drainage and installation of air filtration instrument within four months.  The order was passed based on the complaint from residents nearby areas under the aegis of Peoples Movement for Clean Environment (PMCE).

The PMCE members claimed that the industry has been discharging untreated sewage to their colony causing “unbearable foul smell in the surroundings and also generates extreme loud noise.”

The ADM had directed that the industry stop the feeding process after 10.30 PM and if any activities are carried out, they should be restricted to minimum sound.

“No smoke will be operational without using the gas cleaning plan,” the ADM had directed.

He had also ordered for drainage work to start from 20 August, subject to the clearance of the site by the complainant and to upgrade the air pollution control equipment within four months by the management.

It also stated that the ADM’s court shall inspect the site as and when required to ascertain the compliance of directions.

PMCE chairman Takam Xavier claimed that the industry is yet to comply with the ADM’s direction on noise.

On drainage, he claimed that the industry has entrusted the complainant to construct it themselves with assurance that expense would be borne by the industry.

Xavier informed that PMCE members had informed the authority on non-compliance of the ADM’s order by the industry for further action.