Pollution rap on units

Board's closure order throws lives into jeopardy

By Vinod Kumar Singh in Dhemaji
  • Published 17.04.18
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SHUTDOWN SCENARIO

Dhemaji: The Arunachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board's recent order to close down scores of hotels, stone crushers and industries operating in the state has brought uncertainty in the lives of several employees and owners.

The board has directed deputy commissioners of the districts to close the units operating without valid licences and instructed the departments concerned such as power and public health engineering to disconnect power and water supply to these units.

A hotel owner of Pasighat said to make matters worse, there is only one pollution-control office in the entire state near Naharlagun.

"Owners of hotels, stone crushers and other industries have to travel to Naharlagun several times to buy forms, fill those up, complete the paperwork and submit applications. The fees to get consent are very high and amount to lakhs of rupees. The high fees and expenditures for multiple trips to the single pollution-control office in the state increase overhead expenditures of local entrepreneurs.

"Why are the fees for getting consent of the board so high? Why can't offices of the pollution control department be set up at the district headquarters? The board can also open its branches in the districts," he said.

Another entrepreneur said New Delhi has refused to sign Kyoto Protocol of Climate Change in Japan a few years back, on the ground that India is still developing and needs to set up more industries to catch up with the developed world.

He said: "The same logic applies to our state also because number of industries in Arunachal Pradesh is negligible. Perhaps these are some of the reasons why there are so few hotels and industries in the state. If we start issuing closure notices to these few industries also, the existing ones may also close down which will largely affect their employees. The government alone cannot afford to give so many jobs to ever-increasing population of the state."

The industries and hotels are divided into green, orange, white and red sectors with red representing the most-polluted and green representing the non-polluting units. According to the aggrieved entrepreneurs, the board has issued closure notice to "green" industries/units also.