The board has issued three lists of 218 industry categories and asked the Calcutta and Howrah Municipal Corporations to stop issuing trade licences to 125 of them. The board’s directive, however, does not say anything on existing businesses.
Of the banned industry categories, 84, including health care establishments, are in the ‘Red’ list and 41 are in the ‘Orange’.
Only in 93 categories in the ‘Green’ list’ can companies set up establishments in Calcutta and Howrah.
The board issued the lists, drawn up by the Union ministry of environment and forests, on the directive of the Centre.
But the state government, aware that banning new hospitals in the city could create unassailable problems, is working on ways to circumvent or amend the rule.
The chairman of the state pollution control board and state environment secretary, Kalyan Bagchi, said: “We have to review the situation (on health care establishments) but we have had to classify them as ‘Red’. They have to comply with rules governing disposal of bio-medical wastes and other health care directives.”
The Pollution Control Board’s directive to the civic authorities of Calcutta and Howrah will severely undermine their revenues.
The CMC earns about Rs 50 crore from issuing and renewing trade licences to units in 540 industrial categories every year, said deputy municipal commissioner (licence) Aniruddha Mukherjee. Revenue could come down by as much as 25 per cent.
After the pollution board’s directive, the corporation cannot issue new licences to 125 categories of businesses. In the week since the corporation received the board directive, more than 3,000 applications for trade licences have been turned down. Of these, there were requests for licences for nearly a dozen health care establishments.
In Howrah, the municipal corporation has issued 350,000 trade licences so far. The figures on how the directive has affected the Howrah corporation were not readily available.
Civic officials said on Wednesday that the pollution board directive, if implemented to the letter, will lead to a drastic reorganisation of business districts in and around Calcutta and Howrah.
While it could discourage businessmen from setting up new units, it could just as well result in a boom in the suburban and rural areas. They said panchayat areas just east of Calcutta could emerge as commercial zones. The lists do not apply to the panchayat areas.
The categories of businesses mentioned in the ‘orange’ list would be allowed in the Calcutta Metropolitan Area but outside the areas under the jurisdiction of the corporations.
In the 41 types of businesses in the ‘orange’ list are categories such as spray-painting, dry-cell battery, icecream-making, cold storages and fish-processing units. These units could be set up in the metropolitan areas of Calcutta and Howrah with the permission of the pollution board.
Among the categories in the ‘Red’ and ‘Orange’ lists are gold and silver smithies, spice-grinding establishments, slaughter-houses, dairy and milk products units (affecting sweet shops), bakeries and tanneries.
Municipal commissioner Asim Barman the restrictions imposed by the pollution board would cripple any further growth of 125 categories of businesses in the city.
But the municipal corporation was still renewing trade licences, as usual, because the pollution board had not imposed any restriction on this.
Among the industries on the ‘green’ list of 93
categories that would be welcome to set up units are candle-making, tailoring,
stationeries, book-binding, power mills, confectioneries, photographic
studies and toys.
Red: Industries not wanted in Greater Calcutta