Mumbai, Apr 23: Taking cognisance of commercial users, specially distilleries in Aurangabad, polluting water bodies, Maharashtra government has cracked the whip on such units by making penalties more stringent.
A Government Resolution (GR) issued by Water Resources department here today stated that henceforth, industries and those consuming water if found polluting nearby water bodies by discharging untreated effluents will have to pay double the fine and face disconnection of water supply.
"The guilty will have to pay double the fines if it is found that they have released waste water, which is not as per the prescribed norms laid down by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB)," it stated.
The Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court on June 30, 2015, had served notices to Ms Radico NV Distilleries, Aurangabad and others for releasing untreated waste in nearby farms, wells and open spaces.
A local farmer Vithhal Thube, who has agricultural farm land at Shendra MIDC in Aurangabad, had lodged a complaint this year in May that hazardous waste was being released by a distillery company killing 25 trees and rendering his agricultural field infertile.
The MPCB too had served notice to Ms Radico NV Distilleries asking it to stop production and for violating the provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The company had, however, denied the charges. Industries minister Subhash Desai admitted that some industries are now resorting to digging trenches inside their industrial premises and dumping untreated waste.
"This waste later seeps into the ground and then pollutes lake, wells and ponds," he said. The GR stated as per the "principle of the one who pollutes will pay", those found guilty of discharging untreated waste water not confiding to the MPCB norms shall have to pay double the prescribed fine.
The GR applies to non-agricultural industrial and commercial water consumers who are direct consumers of the Water Resources department.
"If the MPCB has ordered for disconnection of the water supply to such a consumer then Water Resource department shall discontinue the water supply. The department will restore the connection only after the consumer pays the fine and following the orders of the MPCB to that effect," the GR stated.