NGT orders inspection of sugarcane crushing units in UP

NEW DELHI
13 Feb 2017

The National Green Tribunal has directed inspection of 'kolhus' used for crushing sugarcane in Uttar Pradesh after a plea alleged that these "unregulated" units were major contributors to air and water pollution. Sugarcane is processed in bullock-driven 'kolhus' for crushing cane for manufacturing sugar. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim noted that there was no scientific study or any report with regard to working of these units and their adverse impacts on the environment. The green panel directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the state pollution control board to conduict a joint inspection of these units and inform it whether any pollution is being caused due to running of kolhus. "Apart from this joint inspection, CPCB and UPPCB are required to conduct independent study of the functioning of the kolhus in the nature of pollutant these release and adverse impact, if any, caused to the environment and suggest such remedial action as may be necessary. "We further direct the Environment Ministry to place before the tribunal any rules, regulation or standing orders issued with regard to control of kolhus, if not then to file a submission suggesting such action to prevent pollution being caused by kolhus," the bench said. The tribunal granted three months time to CPCB and UPPCB to file their inspection reports after serving copies to the applicant in the case. The order came while hearing a plea filed by advocate Anil Kumar seeking closure of kolhu crushers operating in the western and central parts of the state on the ground that they emit toxic gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which cause air pollution. "There are approximately 5,000 kolhus functioning in western and central Uttar Pradesh which work on an average of 180 days in a season. In one season, around 900 lakh quintals of sugarcane are crushed by kolhus which also burn around 225 lakh quintals of fuel at a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius generating around 787 lakh quintals of fuel gas (mass). This in turn generates 3.82 lakh quintals of ash per season," the plea has said. The plea, filed through advocate Nishant Gautam, has sought directions to conduct environmental impact assessment study relating to the operation of kolhus and their impact on the environment due to alleged non-compliance of environment laws.(PTI)