“ROLE OF POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD IN SEZ”
Government of India allows settings up of Special Economic Zones in the public, private, joint sector or by the State Governments. The establishment operation should aim at sustainable development of the Special Economic Zone in each State and hence, the requirement for ‘consent to establish’ which brings into picture the role of various authorities.
Firstly, it is to be considered that the Special Economic Zone Act, 2005 does not mention anything about the requirement of Environmental Impact Assessment or the Role of the Pollution Control Boards since they are considered to be non-polluting.
Secondly, the SEZ notification categorizes all projects in A and B categories requiring approval from Central Government and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and from the State Government respectively.
Thirdly, in order to provide for a Single Window clearance for approvals to investors the Development Commissioners of SEZs will represent the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and other agencies with regard to clearance of all SEZ Units and have enormous powers especially in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand.
But there are polluting units as well that need approval for establishment from Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) as their objective is to take preventive action for pollution. Thus, Section 26 of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 & under Section 21 of the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rule 2000 and E-Waste (Management & Handling Rule 2011 is considered and the consent is hereby granted by the Board.
In Maharashtra specifically, every individual Industry proposed to be located in SEZ area shall obtain consent to establish from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board before taking any effective steps for implementation of the project. The industrial effluent shall be treated separately in the individual industrial units by their own ETPs. The treated effluent shall be recycled and reused so as to achieve zero Discharge from the SEZ. Applicant shall be responsible for provision of Domestic effluent carrying pipeline and operation and maintenance of effluent carrying pipeline and Sewage Treatment Plant.
The role of the PCBs is also to ensure compliance with the standards of pollution set by the local laws and further terms and conditions that accompany the consent. The Board reserves its rights to review plans, specifications or other data relating to plant setup for the treatment of water, works for the purification thereof & the system for the disposal of sewage or trade effluent or in connection with the grant of any consent conditions. The Applicant or developer shall obtain prior consent of the Board to take steps to establish the unit or establish any treatment and disposal system or an extension or addition thereto. Further, the developer has to submit the environmental statement report yearly or half-yearly as per the terms.
The Maharashtra SPCB gives integrated clearance (consent to operate) for all industries in their State. Clearances for green industries are given for a period of 15 years, for orange industry it gives for 10 years and for red industries it is for 5 years for Special Economic Zone. And the application for renewal of consent has to be made at least 60 days before the date of expiry of the consent.
Although, it is to be considered that all these roles can be deduced from the orders of the PCBs in the consent application lately mainly in the year 2014.
By Priya Aggrawal