For want of treatment plants, HC warns of stalling new industry in Baddi, Barotiwala

Shimla: The Himachal High Court has warned about stepping in and stopping any fresh industries from being set up in Baddi and Barortiwala, should the government fail to set up common effluent treatment plant (CETP), municipal solid waste plant (MSWP) and sewage treatment plant (STP) with a stipulated timeframe in the industrial areas.

Acting on public interest litigation, the court had asked the state government to set up these plants by April, 2012.

The courts green bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol on Friday picked holes in an affidavit filed on behalf of the chief secretary.

“To say the least, the affidavits reveal a shocking state of affair and it is apparent that despite our earlier order till date virtually no movement has taken place on the government side,” observed the judges

On a perusal of the affidavits, we are pained to observe that neither the previous orders of this Court have been considered nor the officials have moved with the alacrity, which we expect in cases like the present one.

This court cannot be a silent spectator to a situation where a whole new industrial town-ship is set up without giving the proper infrastructure of CETP, MSWP & STP, said the judges.

We cannot appreciate the role of the officials in moving at a snail’s pace despite the directions issued by us. Before passing any order directing that no new industry be set up in the area, we are again giving the state government another opportunity to come up with a complete time frame on every aspect of the matter, the bench directed.

The court also sought an explanation from HP state electricity board as to why there was a delay of as much as 6 months in disconnecting power supplies to a dozen industries despite being directed to do so by the Pollution Control Board.

The bench observed that when industries take benefit of excise and tax exemptions to set up industries in these areas, is there not a corresponding duty to ensure that the original residents of the area live in a clean and green environment?

The land of the original land owners has been acquired by the industries and their life is being made miserable by not setting up the CETP, MSWP & STP though that is the crying need of the hour.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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