Monday, June 23, 2014

Stay on production at ceramic units lifted

Gujarat high court on Monday lifted its stay on production at ceramic units of Morbi and permitted them to resume operations. However, the units can begin production only after obtaining permission from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) to run coal-fired gasifiers equipped with zero-discharge technology so that pollution levels are brought down.

The HC lifted its stay and disposed of the PIL against the use of coal-fired gasifiers, after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said that it had suspended, for one year, its decision to dismantle gasifiers which do not run in accordance with its order issued on August 23, 2012. In its 2012 order, the CPCB had recommended dismantling of gasifiers because they were run on coal and this was against the norms. Two months later, it also suggested that if the gasifiers were modified to bring down pollution, the GPCB could consider granting no objection certificates (NOC) to units using them.

Last year, after the high court stay on production, the ceramic industries association had come up with the suggestion of introducing a zero-discharge technology. The high court had then ordered a committee led by GPCB-CPCB experts to inspect the technology and give suggestions. The committee recommended use of the new technology on certain conditions. The CPCB had then requested the high court that its experts would take the final call.

On Monday, the CPCB filed an affidavit with various recommendations, including the suggestion that those who wish to run industrial units should get the GPCB's nod first by following the procedure. This involves inspection of zero-discharge technology by the GPCB before issuing an NOC to run coal-fired gasifiers. The CPCB affidavit said that it had decided to suspend for a year its order for dismantling of coal gasifires, after going through the expert committee's report. It has powers to do so under Section 18(1)(B) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.

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