MUMBAI : The Bombay High Court on Friday observed that the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board must initiate action against industrial units which discharge untreated effluents into the Panchganga river in Kolhapur district .
The observation was made by a division bench of Justices S J Vazifdar and G S Patel while hearing a petition filed by social worker Dattatray Mane and four others from Ichalkaranji, seeking criminal action against the industrial units.
During the last hearing, the court had asked the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to look into the issue and suggest corrective measures.
On Friday, NEERI informed the court that while the institute was ready to study the pollution problem, some industrial units did not permit its experts to enter the premises for inspection.
“The MPCB has to ensure that NEERI has access to all industries in the 45-kilometre stretch of the Panchganga river and catchment area. Needless to say MPCB is bound to take action against errant industries in accordance with law,” the court said.
The court said municipal bodies of Kolhapur
and Ichalkaranji would bear the cost of NEERI study.
NEERI’s team would also examine if the sewage treatment plant of the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation can deal with the problem as per the norms of MPCB.
Petitioners claim that polluted river water led to the massive jaundice outbreak in May last year in Ichalkaranji and surrounding towns, when 5,354 persons contracted the infection and 24 died.