The Delhi government has informed the National Green Tribunal that steel pickling units fall under the prohibited list of industrial activity according to the Delhi Master Plan (DMP), 2021 and cannot operate in residential areas. The AAP government told a bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Justice U D Salvi that pickling industries fall in the negative list of the master plan and are not allowed to function after three years commencing from September 23, 2013. The green panel was also apprised that according to the notification issued by the city government, “under no circumstance, pickling activity should be allowed in non-conforming/residential areas. And in case any unit found operating illegally, the same will be shut down by the municipal corporation concerned”. Noting the submissions, the tribunal asked the Delhi government to take appropriate decision in accordance with the law before February 12, the next date of hearing. The NGT was hearing a plea filed by NGO, All India Lokadhikar Sangthan seeking execution of its order by which the green panel had directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to take action against stainless steel pickling industries.
The plea alleged that steel pickling units functioning at Wazirpur discharge effluent in open drains which ultimately meet the Yamuna river. It contended that under the pretext of the decision-making, “time is being taken by the Delhi government and the environment is made to suffer continuously”. The tribunal had earlier directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to inspect stainless steel pickling industries in Wazirpur, which were flouting mandatory pollution norms. The NGO alleged that despite the tribunal’s order, the DPCC has failed to implement the direction passed on October 17, 2014. Steel pickling is the process of removing impurities such as stains and inorganic contaminants from the metal.