HC pulls up SPCB for contradictory affidavits

Gangtok, 03 May:

The High Court of Sikkim has pulled up the State Pollution Control Board for filling contradictory affidavits within a period of 10 days and directed the Board to conduct fresh inspection of all the pharmaceutical industries including the other polluting industries in the presence of the Amicus Curiae.

While passing the order last week, the division bench of the High Court said that "…there is no clear statement on the part of the State Pollution Control Board as to why there are wide gaps and differences between both the affidavits. The Secretary, Pollution Control Board has annexed a chart under the heading “Findings on compliance with mandatory parameter as prescribed under Office Order vide No. 713/SPCB/1975 dated 16.01.2017 under Sub-section (3) of Section 25 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 read with sub-section (3) of section 21 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981”. This chart is prepared on the basis of inspection done way back in February and March 2018. The chart is undated and does not indicate whether this is prepared by the Secretary or by any other person.”

The bench was of the considered view that a fresh inspection of all the Pharmaceutical and other polluting Industries be done in the presence of the Amici Curiae. The Amici Curiae is at liberty to inspect the file of the State Pollution Control Board as well and file a report, the bench said.

Meanwhile, the court also issued a notice to the state government regarding permission for M/s Pristine Life Sciences Pharma Company situated opposite Bhanu Park, NH-10, Singtam, East Sikkim to remove its plant and machineries from Sikkim.

Pristine Life Sciences Pharmaceutical industry was closed down for violating the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and Hazardous & Other Wastes management Rules.

The High Court also issued a notice to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Gangtok to have an inspection of the said pharma company and file a report.

The bench also granted permission to Mrs. Ruth Kartak Lepchani, from whom the said pharma company had taken the land on lease, to file objections, if any.

Pristine Life Sciences Pharma Company had violated several norms dumping hazardous chemicals in surroundings and releasing contaminated water until the issue was brought to the notice of the High Court.

It has not properly installed and maintained IONEXCHANGE filtration equipment and also used to dump and bury hazardous waste i.e. Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) sludge, rejected finished products and raw materials behind the factory premises.

These hazardous wastes are not being treated through the Effluent Treatment Plant, which is in contravention to the provision of Section 8 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and also the provisions of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Trans-boundary movement) Rules, 2016.

It is alleged that M/S Pristine Life Science used contaminated and dirty water from “jhora” for the purpose of manufacturing pharmaceutical medicines and other drugs which was supplied for human consumption to the market across the country through its distributors.