BANGALORE: The Pollution Control Board (PCB) has permitted granite industries in and around Ilkal town in Bagalkot district to use coolants which are said to harm the environment, despite notices from the High Court and the State Human Rights Commission.
While the High Court had issued notices to the pollution control board, the state government and the polluting industries on December 13 on a public interest litigation by Jana Jagrithi Vedike, an NGO working for environment, the SHRC had directed the state government to shut the industries.
The PCB itself had earlier issued notices to the industries for installing cutting machines, using harmful coolants and releasing contaminated sludge into nearby streams, thus violating provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. The board had also received several complaints in this regard.
The industries were also charged with operating aerolite-based cutting and polishing units without the consent of the board.
Though the PCB, in its December 22 order, has permitted the use of the coolant subject to the results of the bioassay study and a decision of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), its haste in granting permission has raised eyebrows.
Moreover, the PCB has granted permission to the units even before replying to the court notice. The board has merely relied on the literature brought out by Indian Oil Corporation the manufacturer, rather on the experts’ report. The coolant, made of kerosene and aerolite, is said to facilitate smooth cutting of thick blocks of granite.