The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has been directed on Friday by the Gujarat high court to close down National Textile Corporation's Rajnagar Textile Mill near Idgah Chawky with immediate effect. The court said that the unit should not be permitted to restart production until it adheres to noise pollution norms.
Rajnagar Textile Mills, an undertaking of state-run National Textile Corporation (NTC) was among the 22 mills across India to be restarted by NTC as part of its multi-billion modernization project. The mill was closed five years ago in 2005, due to labour related problems. The most modern textile mills was planned for production capacity of 50,000 metres of cotton sheeting and shirting fabric per day, besides 5,000 kgs of yarn production for which the latest 36,000 spindles purchased from Switzerland Sulpex group and Coimbatore Lakshmi machinery .
The court has ordered closure of the textile unit following complaints that its blowers made unbearable sound, particularly during nights, as the mill is situated near a residential area, said advocate Gajendra Sharma who represented the petitioner, Mohanbhai Suthar,
The matter reached the high court in September last year after the mill continued to cause noise pollution beyond the permissible limits, even after the GPCB had issued it a closure notice. After GPCB's notice, the mill applied for Consolidated Consents and Authorization (CCA) from GPCB. Following this, the pollution control board revoked its closure order for three months. But inspection by the GPCB revealed that the textile mill had not brought down noise levels.
Advocate Sharma said that the high court has asked the GPCB to force the textile unit to close with immediate effect. The closure order could render jobless more than 600 workers employed on an ad hoc basis.
The court said that the textile unit can take remedial measures by installing sophisticated machinery to bring down the noise level to limits prescribed under law. Thereafter, it can request for permission to restart production on a trial basis, if the GPCB is satisfied after inspection.
The court also criticized the unit for ignoring the plight of people living in the neighbourhood. According to the court observation, the residential building of the petitioner is situated at a distance of 40 feet from the boundary of the factory premises. It is the duty of the mill management to see that noise emitted from its factory does not cross the noise level fixed for residential area.
In 2010, the NTC had pumped in Rs 500 crore for modernization of 22 mills across the country and Rajnagar was one of them. This mill was started in the 1920s and then closed in the 1980s in the wake of rising wage costs with nearly 2,000 workers rendered jobless. The textile mills once again facing closure and this time due to complaints over noise pollution, a serious matter of concern.
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