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WB govt sets up panels for new environment policy


PTI | Kolkata, October 28, 2011 12:55
Tags : West Bengal Environment Minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar | growing problem of pollution | Left Front government | Durgapur | Jharia | IIT Kharagpur | IIT Mumbai |

With the problem of pollution rising, the West Bengal government has constituted several committees to frame a new environment policy.

On the one hand, the state government is grappling with the health hazards caused to the people by sponge iron industries and on the other, increasing violation of wetland norms that is disturbing biodiversity.

"The committees will give their recommendations and If they suggest formation of a new environment policy or action plan, commensurate measures will be taken," West Bengal Environment Minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar said.

The minister alleged that the previous Left Front government had failed to conduct a detailed study of health hazards posed by the sponge iron units located mostly in Durgapur and Jharia in Burdwan district.

The sponge iron industry has been asked by the Environment Department to first create a green cover around the factory locations, and to conserve enough surface water to offset water scarcity caused by excessive withdrawal of ground water, Ghosh Dastidar said.

The minister felt the need for a stringent law to tackle pollution by sponge iron factories.

Dastidar regretted that big realtors had over the years violated wetland norms with impunity and noted that many ponds and water bodies had been filled up by land sharks illegally to build either real estate properties or factories, jeopardising biodiversity

A practice the land Mafia often employ is to come close to the party in power to serve their ends, the minister said, adding Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed that violation of norms would not be tolerated.

He also noted the absence of an integrated solid waste management policy covering the whole of the state and promised to bring in one.

On industrial effluents and biomedical waste, Ghosh Dastidar said the government has sought expertise and collaboration from IIT Kharagpur and IIT Mumbai to properly treat them before discharge.

The government would help small scale industries to set up pilot projects to check pollution.

"We can take measures like suspension of production and cancellation of licences till they adopt correctional methods, but at the same time we are aware of the loss of jobs that may entail," he said.

So, the awareness must be created first and then the polluting industries warned before these harsh measures are taken.

"Till now, the focus of the department is on collecting fines from violators," the minister said.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017