New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday fined Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government Rs 50 crore for not taking action against steel pickling units in residential areas as they fall under the prohibited list of industrial activity. The NGT also directed the Delhi government to shut these units with immediate effect. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel reprimanded the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for not closing the industrial units despite its specific directions.

Notably, the directive came on a plea filed by an NGO, the All India Lokadhikar Sangthan, seeking the execution of its order by which the green panel had directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to take action against stainless steel pickling industries in residential areas as they fall under the prohibited list of industrial activity as per the Delhi Master Plan (DMP), 2021.

The plea alleged that such pickling units functioning at Wazirpur discharged effluent in open drains which ultimately met the Yamuna river. It contended that under the pretext of decision making “time is being taken by the Delhi government and the environment is made to suffer continuously”.

Steel pickling is the process of removing impurities such as stains and inorganic contaminants from the metal.

Earlier this year, the Delhi government had informed the National Green Tribunal that steel pickling units fall under the prohibited list of industrial activity according to the Delhi Master Plan (DMP), 2021 and cannot operate in residential areas.

The AAP government had said that the pickling industries fall in the negative list of the master plan and are not allowed to function after three years commencing from September 23, 2013. The green panel was also apprised that according to the notification issued by the city government, “under no circumstance, pickling activity should be allowed in non-conforming/residential areas.

(With inputs from agencies)