Bhushan Steel's Odisha plant faces closure threat

Bhubaneswar, Aug 23 : Authorities in Odisha Friday said the 3.1 million tonne per annum steel plant of Bhushan Steel Ltd in the state could face closure if it failed to comply with prescribed pollution norms by Sep 30.

The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), which has already ordered closed a coal-based power plant of the company in Dhenkanal district nine days ago over pollution concerns, said it had also inspected the steel plant located nearby last month, and found several instances of non-compliance with norms.

"We have given them the opportunity to correct it. If they don't comply, we would be harsh on them," member secretary of the board Lalit Kumar Tewari told IANS.

The steel plant, located at Narendrapur in Dhenkanal, about 150 km from here, was granted consent to operate by the SPCB, valid till Sep 30.

A senior board official said the unit had been served notice a number of times in the past, seeking corrective measures, but company officials had not paid heed to them. This prompted the board to issue a direction June 25 asking the unit officials to comply with the norms in respect of air and water pollution, and solid waste management.

The board had also asked the unit to submit an action taken report within the stipulated period of 15 days, but no reply was received from them, he said. The board again sent a team of experts who inspected the plant and nearby areas July 16-17. They found that the unit was discharging huge volume of pollutants into nearby drains, in violation of the prescribed standards.

The industry has grossly failed in the management of the process effluent and surface runoff generated from the entire plant, said the official, who was part of the inspection team.

"Presence of high concentration of toxic pollutants in the discharge made to nearby water bodies is a matter of serious concern," he said.

Despite the steel plant having been given sufficient opportunity to control pollution, the board observed persistent non-compliance. "We will wait for the deadline. If the company does not comply with the norms, we will be forced to shut down the plant," the official said.

When contacted, a senior company official declined to comment.

--IANS (Posted on 23-08-2013)

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