Thirteen years after a complaint was filed against him, the owner of a dyeing unit has been charged by a Delhi court with releasing untreated effluents in drains leading to Yamuna river.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Devendra Kumar Sharma charged the owner of the unit in Old Delhi under various provisions of the Water Act while holding that prima facie it was established that he was discharging untreated effluent in drains in violation of Supreme Court guidelines and the Water Act and had no permission to run the unit. "...this court is of the opinion that there is sufficient material on record for framing of charge against the accused under sections 24, 25 and 26 (Prohibition on use of stream for disposal of polluting matter and prior consent to establish or operate any such industry)... of Water Act," the court said.
The order came on a complaint filed 13 years ago by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) against Siyaram Dyeing run by accused Shyam Sunder Saini. DPCC counsel MS Jitender Gauba told the court that after the apex court banned release of untreated waste in Yamuna, a vigilance squad was formed on February 18, 2000, by the Delhi government, which carried out inspection of Siyaram Dyeing at Sitapuri in Old Delhi.
The unit was found operating without any Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) and was discharging untreated or heavily coloured effluent in the drains. Also, the unit was operating without the consent of the DPCC, as required under the Water Act. An order to close the unit was passed and a complaint was made against it.
The court was told that Saini was deliberately flouting guidelines issued by the Supreme Court to install ETP to treat the discharge before releasing it in the Yamuna. If the charges against Saini are proved, he could face a maximum of six years jail term and fined under the Water Act.
DPCC also told the court that taking note of a newspaper article, the apex court had in 1999 directed that no industrial effluent be allowed to be discharged directly or indirectly in the Yamuna. It said public notices were issued in 1999 and 2000 directing all water polluting units to install ETP. Later, inspections were carried out by Delhi government. Saini was summoned by the court where he submitted that he was not the owner of the premises. The court, however, relied upon the testimonies of his employees to conclude that he was occupying the premises.
The judge also considered the photographs of the unit which showed untreated effluents being discharged in the drains. "From the evidence available on record, prima facie it is established that accused persons were discharging untreated effluent directly to the sewer...," the ACMM said, while also noting that the dyeing unit was being run without prior consent.
The charges framed against Saini carry a maximum imprisonment of six years and fine under the Water Act, if proved.