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HC bats for regular inspection of water polluting industries

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to consider introducing a provision in its 2016 Government Resolution (GR) regarding regular inspection of industries discharging pollutants into water bodies in the state.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and P N Deshmukh said the GR of April 21, 2016 provides for adequate machinery for taking steps against industrial agencies and companies discharging pollutants into water bodies or causing pollution of water sources.

“The state government shall consider introduction of a provision regarding inspection at regular intervals by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on industrial agencies in the said resolution,” the court said.

The bench passed its order in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Heta Shah, which claimed that after the state faced a drought situation in 2016, the government supplied water for industrial and commercial use, but common man and animals had to face problems due to acute water shortage.

The bench in its order relied on a May 2011 Water Policy of the government as per which supply of water is divided into four categories.

“Supply of water for domestic use, drinking water and cleaning and sanitation purposes for both human beings and animals is given topmost priority in the policy. The second priority is supply of water for agricultural purposes,” the court said in its order.

Supply of water for industrial and commercial purposes falls under the third category, the court said.

“If at any given time, there is an acute water shortage and water is not available to meet the usage for the first category, the state government will then be justified in reducing or restricting supply of water for other categories,” the order said.

The government is bound by its own policy, the court said.

Referring to an issue raised in the petition regarding water supply to abattoirs in the state, the court said the same would fall under the category of industrial and commercial use.

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