BANGALORE: The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Zone, Chennai, has asked over a dozen industrial units to move out machinery and materials from Zone-3 of Thippagondanahalli reservoir catchment area (TGR) within three months. This eco-sensitive zone has a number of granite units.
In its order, the NGT said: “Following orders of closure issued by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, all appellants have stopped operation of their units. Though the units are not in operation, all machinery and materials used by the appellants and kept within the premises have to be removed by them, for which reasonable time has to be given. The appellants are directed to remove all machinery and materials along with construction made by them for carrying on the activities, within a period of three months.” The NGT bench comprised Justice M Chockalingam (judicial member) and Prof Dr R Nagendran (expert member).
These units are located in Byndahalli and Kadabagere villages in Bangalore North taluk, and as environmentalists point out, pose a threat to the Arkavathy and Kumudwathi river courses. These rivers provide water to TG Halli.
J Manjunath, coordinator, Arkavathy River Rejuvenation Committee, welcomed the NGT directive and said more needs to be done to safeguard the riverbed and reservoir. “If all departments in control of the 4,358sqkm Arkavathy basin had acted in coordination after the 2003 notification, we would not have faced this situation. Now, the option is to have a separate river basin institution for this area, including all agencies concerned, like BDA, BMRDA, gram panchayats, taluk panchayats and elected representatives, and experts under it. This would pave the way for accountability and unified action,” he said.
The tribunal also negated the contention raised by the appellants that all units are not situated in Zone-3 of TGR area. “Even assuming the units are situated beyond the 1-km radius in Zone-4, granite cutting and polishing units cannot be allowed to operate in Zone-4 since they are classified as ‘Orange category’ units and not considered green industries, which alone can be permitted in Zone-4,” the bench said.
Divya Granites and 15 other units filed an appeal against the July 29, 2013, order passed by KSPCB, asking them to close their units.