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Pollution in Malegaon

Hazardous emissions no case for MPCB

Thursday, June 18, 2009 03:11:44 PM, Aleem Faizee


 Smokes of death?

More Pains

Decisions and Implementations - The GAP widening day by day: Perform or perish. It was the warning given to the new Ministers who took the oath of office after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) formed the government in New Delhi a couple of weeks before. Alarmed by the rising expectations, the Prime Minister even unveiled a 100-day roadmap for his ministerial colleagues and issued them with...Read Full

SSA Funds in Malegaon - Whose purpose are they actually serving?: Instead most of these funds are either lapsed and lay unused or if at all they are used, due to improper planning and rampant corruption, fail in bringing the desired results. This is what had seemingly happened with the massive amount of the fund that came to Malegaon through Serva Siksha Abhiyan...Read Full

Such things happen only in Malegaon-Denied the wages, teachers are forced to work in powerloom factories during the night: The life has become a hell for more than 1000 families here in Malegaon as the local civic body is persistently failing in paying its share...Read Full

A Living Hell: Established in 1863 Malegaon Municipal Council till a decade ago was regarded as one of the richest Council in Maharashtra. It was so prosperous that when Nashik and Malegaon both were Municipal Councils, it used to lend Nashik Municipal Council the funds needed for the monthly payments....Read Full

Malegaon: Mausam River that originates from the historic Saler and Mulher mountains divides Malegaon-the Muslim dominated textile city in North Maharashtra in two parts. While the western part of the city is having Hindus as its majority inhabitant, the eastern part has the Muslims in numbers. It is here in the eastern part that the things are messed up resulting in a situation that is worsening with an alarming pace today. Surrounded by thousands of small and big powerloom factories, sizing units and plastic industries, the eastern part of the city is so ghettoized that it has an estimated 60,000 people per square kilometer as against 20,000, the normal. Incidentally it is the eastern part of the city that generates the major share of revenue for the civic body. Yet when it comes to providing the basic amenities and a healthy environment it is this area which is neglected the most and meted to all sort of injustice and irregularities by the civic body. The existence of plastic factories and sizing units in and around the locality is only adding to the woes of the natives.


Blessings though these factories might be for their owners. But for the people living in this part they have become disgusting to say the least. For, the large quantity of plastic-wastes used by these factories is contaminating the environment in the entire area with poisonous gases. In last two years, the complaints are lodged with every government department including the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) but barring few routine and formal procedures no concrete action has been taken so far. The inept attitude of the administration has only encouraged the owners who are using all sort of hazardous materials in their factories despite receiving the so-called notices issued by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).


“You don’t need anyone to tell about the pollution level and badly polluted atmosphere in the area if you are entering the town from the east. The low-height chimneys with visible leakages and excessive utilization of plastic-waste purchased on through-away prices in these factories resulting in the emission of poisonous gases are all so pronounced that I was just wondering if I needed to complain for such an obvious thing”, sarcastically says Dr. Saeed Farani, whose Faran Hospital is among the few in the city that always comes to the rescue of the people in case of a calamity. Dr. Farni shot a letter to the Minister of Health and Family Welfare (Govt. of Maharashtra) and requested for an appropriate action.”But they don’t seem to be even bothered about the patients particularly the women patients and newly born babies who are terribly affected by the poisonous gases emanating from these factories”, he says.


After their repeated pleas with the owners of these factories and various complaints lodged with the concerned departments failed in producing any results, the natives finally moved to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on February 2, 2007 and pleaded for an immediate action against the culprits. Along with the MPCB, copies of the complaint were also forwarded to almost every government office in the town and at the district headquarter including the Collector and Superintendent of Police. “However neither the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) nor any other department came to our rescue”, informs Yusuf Abdullah, a prominent Tax Consultant.


RTI - The Savior but situation ceases to change

After waiting for any action from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) for a little more than a year, Yusuf Abdullah filed an application under Right to Information Act (RTI) on February 12, 2008 and demanded to know from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) about the actions taken on their complaint. The RTI application did not go unanswered. The MPCB officers, led by Field Officer Ashok Kare and equipped with Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Instruments, at last raided the sizing units and plastic factories on March 13, 2008 and found the air pollution in the area, as complained by the resident, at alarmingly high level. They also found the hazardous materials being used in these factories.


“However”, Yusuf Abdullah says, “They did not take any preemptive action even after finding the hazardous materials. They just took the sizing owners’ signatures on a form and let them go away without any warnings.”


But Ashok Kare, who had led the raids in Malegaon, denied allowing anyone was left unpunished. “The whole matter is still under process and actions would be taken once it is complete”, he had said when we spoke to him after the raids before adding, “We have already issued show-cause notices to the sizing owners on March 24 and sought their reply in ten days.”


On their part, the sizing owners while admitting that they are using the plastic waste purchased from the plastic factories in the boilers instead of wood, declined to agree that they are doing so to save the money and at the cost of innocent life. “It is not true that we use these materials because they are cheap. Most of the time we don’t get the timber for the boilers in time hence we opt for them”, a sizing owner says on the condition of anonymity.


As the claims and counter-claims go on and on, for the people in the area after the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) issued the show cause notices to the owners, the condition instead of improving has deteriorated even further. Contacting the MPCB Regional Office in Nashik to know what exactly is the final decision it has taken to control the pollution level in Malegaon reveals that Ashok Kare, the Field Officer who was at the forefront of the matter in Malegaon, is transferred to Aurangabad and the MPCB is yet to take any final decision on these notices. At the local level, the Municipal Commissioner is away in Mumbai and other senior officers refuse to comment anything over the matter.


The result is that the owners are enjoying the free run thanks to the huge cash that is changing the hands and the helpless natives are considering shifting to some other parts in the city for their safety.




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Malegaon has very complicated issues. Needs whole-hearted efforts from all.

S Chokalingham (IAS)

Former Collector Dist Nashik

now Additional Commissioner, Sales Tax (Maharashtra)


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