State govt placing the cart before horse: HC



Shimla (May 2): In a major embarrassment for the state government, Himachal Pradesh High Court today snubbed it for non- compliance of its earlier order seeking action against errant industrial units creating pollution in the industrial towns of Baddi and Brotiwala while hearing a public interest litigation here today.

A division bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol sought reply from official of state electricity board for failing to take action against 12 industrial units against whom State Pollution Control Board had demanded strict action for creating pollution. Expressing anguish over non-compliance of court order passed by the bench earlier, it today said it was shocking that Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board has taken more than six months to disconnect power to these units.

Janak Singh Rana, executive engineer of HPSEB, Baddi, who was present in person in the court, had been handed over court orders seeking filing of an affidavit, alongwith details of all industries whose power connections have been disconnected by the Board. The bench also direct the official to clearly indicate in the affidavit the date of receipt of the order in the office of the electricity board and when power was disconnected and an explanation for delay of more than 15 days.

It is worthwhile to mention here that on the directions court on April 8, 2011, State chief secretary Rajwant Sandhu and CEO, Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA), Mira Mohanti had filed their affidavits. The court said  “On a perusal of the affidavits, we are pained to observe that neither the previous orders of this court have been considered nor the officials have moved with the alacrity, which we expect in cases like the present one.”

The order said “This Court cannot be a silent spectator to a situation where a whole new industrial township is set up without giving proper infrastructure of CETP, MSWP & STP. It is indeed a sad state of affairs where the state is placing the cart before the horse.”

The bench asked CS to file fresh affidavit keeping in view the earlier orders passed by the same court as well as this order within three weeks from today. The Court also directed member secretary, HP State Pollution Control Board to file on or before the next date an affidavit alongwith a tabular statement in which the list of offending industries shall be given indicating the name of the industry(s) and number of times it was found to be causing pollution alongwith reference to the date of notice.

The court listed the case for May 20, 2011, for further hearing.

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