In a blow to the sugar industry in Maharashtra, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has ordered 45 cooperative sugar factories in the state to shut down for violating rules under the Environmental Protection Act. The move comes just as the sugarcane crushing season is set to commence on November 1, marking the first instance of such a large number of sugar units receiving closure notices.
In a formal communication addressed to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Kamlesh Singh, representing CPCB, stated that it had issued closure directions to the non-complying sugar industries under section 5 of the Environmental Protection Act, on account of non-installation/non-connectivity of Online Continuous Emission/Effluent Monitoring Systems (OCEMS) or for non-compliance with the notified standards/other shortcomings observed during inspections conducted by CPCB.
As per media report, a senior official from CPCB stated, “CPCB anticipated that the state pollution control board would ensure the implementation of these directives, including overseeing the closures, and would coordinate with the state electricity board for the disconnection of power supply.”
The CPCB has, therefore, instructed the MPCB to carry out inspections and verify the status of the 45 sugar units in question. Furthermore, the MPCB is tasked with confirming that these sugar units do not commence operations during the forthcoming crushing season of 2023-24 without first obtaining the revocation of the closure directives from CPCB. The official noted, “MPCB has been given a deadline to submit the action taken report before November 10, 2023.”