Chennai: The Madras High Court has issued notice to the Puducherry government on a PIL seeking direction to halt the proposed expansion of a pharmaceutical unit, which was allegedly causing grave pollution, and stop a public hearing on the matter.
The division bench, comprising justices V Bharathidasan and N Seshasayee, before which the PIL filed by Ashok Anand came up yesterday, issued notice to the government, including its Pollution Control Committee which had issued notice for a public hearing on the proposed expansion on May 8.
The petitioner alleged that the pharmaceutical unit manufacturing drugs was a ‘Red category’ large industry and that as per Central Pollution Control Board classification, it was already causing grave pollution.
He alleged that the unit,which did not have the mandatory environmental clearances, was continuing its operations in violation of a ban by the government.
The unit was operating from the year 1990, consuming several lakh liters of water per day and it has now gone up to 12 lakh litres per day.
As one representing the people of the area, he had raised the issue in the assembly, pointing out that the public in the area was put to grave risk because of water being polluted through release of industrial effluent by the unit, he said.
The unit had applied for expansion to the Environment Ministry, following which the petitioner wrote to them, requesting that it not be given the nod.
Anand said he was shocked to read the public issue notice in newspapers by the Puducherry Pollution Control Committee, calling for a public hearing on the expansion.
He said the committee, which has to be the guardian of the environment and was expected to render the Union territory free from pollution, has openly issued the notice, and sought a direction to the authorities to stop the proposed expansion.
He also sought an interim injunction to restrain the committee from conducting the public hearing on May 8.