PANAJI: The cement-block making factory at Tuem, where an explosion claimed two human lives a few days back, had been operating illegally as it did not obtain the mandatory ‘consent to operate’ from the Goa State Pollution Control Board.
As per the procedure for consent management under the Water Act, 1974 and the Air Act, 1981, the ‘consent to establish’ has to be obtained from the board before setting up a commercial unit, while the ‘consent to operate’ has to be obtained before the beginning of production.
The beleaguered cement-block making unit – M\s Rajendra Kashinath Joshi – had obtained the ‘consent to establish’ in March 2017, which is valid till 2020, but did not apply for the consent to operate.
The unit, according to the GSPCB, has violated the conditions of consent to establish by running the unit without obtaining the consent to operate.
According to the data available with the board, there are only two cement-block making units with valid consents falling under green category operating at the Tuem industrial estate in Pernem taluka – MPD (set up in 2013) and Pushpak Enterprises (established in 2017).
The rules say that any new industrial units/projects falling under red, orange and green categories after completing the construction and installation of their project with the valid consent to establish shall apply the first consent to operate through the online portal before commissioning their proposed production/activities and even before starting the trial run of such activities/trial production.
The board will soon take a call on taking an action against the violator to revoke/withdraw/cancel the ‘consent to establish’ issued to the unit and take legal action under the provisions of the Water Act 1974, the Air Act 1981 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
“A block-making plant was manufacturing concrete blocks without obtaining mandatory consent to operate. Hence we will soon take a strict action, including the unit closure, to stop such malpractices,” a senior GSPCB official said.
According to the procedure for grant of the consent to operate, the authorised officers of the board carry out inspection of the industrial unit to check the status regarding installation of pollution control measures/devices undertaken at the time of obtaining the consent to establish, as well to assess their structural adequacy before deciding the cases of the first consent to operate.
If the industrial unit is found creating conditions that lead to pollution in excess of the standards, or if there is any objection/complaint from the surrounding community, and if on verification it is found that such an objection has some substance even after grant of consent to establish/consent to operate by the board then the GSPCB shall be at liberty to revoke/withdraw/cancel the CTE/CTO issued to such units.