MUMBAI : The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has sent a letter to the Tarapur Environment Protection Society (TEPS) to conduct an audit by a third party on the online water quality monitoring system installed by the TEPS after a complaint was filed by an environmentalist in this regard. The TEPS is alleged to have installed a Forbes Marshall CX 1000 monitoring system, which is a clear violation of the rules framed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB),New Delhi which had ordered the online monitoring system for chemical industries. To present a wrong picture of pollution under control in Tarapur, the industrialists have allegedly installed the Forbes Marshall CX 1000 system,by submitting fudged reports to the MPCB.
The CPCB had ordered online monitoring of water and air parameters to check Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD),and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) present in the effluents which is sent to the 25 mld Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) constructed by the TEPS. As per CPCB rules, a water quality monitoring system is needed to be installed and the readings are to be sent to the MPCB to check the pollution levels. However, to present wrong pollution reports, the TEPS have installed a poor quality system, which showed wrong readings, and thus the MPCB received wrong data,said Manish Sankhe, an environmentalist from Boisar,who has complained to the MPCB in this regard. Furthermore, the system has no certification from any international product certification agency, but a mere calibration report, which is again an violation, said Sankhe.
Sankhe through the Right to Information (RTI) to the MPCB received data on the surprise manual checks conducted by the MPCB at the CETP and the readings were alarming, while the readings shown by the system at the CEPT deviated from one another. There was nearly double the COD, BOD and TDS content in the effluents during the physical checking by the MPCB, while the system installed showed lesser air and water pollutants,said Sankhe. It is clear that the TEPS deliberately installed a faulty system, so as to submit fake reports to the MPCB, and thus be cleared of being named as the major contribution to pollution,said Sankhe. The reports submitted by the TEPS to the MPCB always shows as "normal" pollution in the Tarapur chemical zone, which is a blatant lie,alleged Sankhe.
Recently, there were deaths reported of cattle, and birds due to drinking the effluent water, and if the pollution was under control, then what is the explanation given for the deaths of the animals and birds,questioned Sankhe. Already, the TEPS is facing flak from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Pune for release of untreated effluents directly in the Navapur creek, and now the fudged reports thanks to the faulty system,said Sankhe.
D K Raut, chairman, TEPS has denied the allegation and said the CETP is following all norms framed by the CPCB. We are paying nearly Rs 50 lakh per month as electricity charges and operating a 25 mld CETP is not child's play, said Raut. In fact, we the industrialists are ready to lock our units as well as the CETP and hand over the keys to the government agencies as it is difficult to operate an industry in Tarapur, and it is upto the government to take the final call,said Raut. The MPCB has already took objection and stopped the expansion of the CETP to 50 mld from the present 25 mld and we had already spent Rs 2.50 crore on the project,and it was stopped, as local villagers of Salvad in Boisar objected to the expansion due to pollution issues, said Raut.
Manish Holkar, Sub Regional Officer, MPCB, Tarapur, confirmed that a complaint has been received from Sankhe to the Member Secretary, MPCB,against the operations of the CETP. We have asked the TEPS to conduct a third party audit by a reputed international agency and submit the report to us,within ten days after the receiving the letter,said Holkar.