PANAJI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed pollution control boards across the country to close down all units, including hotels, running without the consent to operate under the air and water acts. A letter containing the order sent by Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) dated June 3 was received by the Goa state pollution control board(GSPCB) on Tuesday, could shut down over 50% of industries and hotels in Goa, operating without the consent under the acts.

NGT, in its order dated May 8, asked the boards to file action taken reports (ATR) within three weeks. MoEF received a copy of the order on May 24.

Sources said Goa has around 2,500 hotels of which just 500 have obtained the consent to operate under the air and water acts from GSPCB. Similarly there are around 4,000 industries operating in the state of which only 50% have the consent under the acts. The industries include small industrial units such as flour mills, bakeries, restaurantsand fabrication units.

The Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) wrote to GSPCB on Monday saying, “It is requested that suitable action in the mater in the light of the direction of the NGT may please be initiated urgently and ATR may be filed before the tribunal within stipulated time frame under intimation to this ministry.”

Speaking to TOI, GSPCB chairman Jose Manuel Noronha said, “We received the order today. We will discuss the issue at our board meeting on Monday next. We have no option but to follow it. We will ensure that all the industries obtain the required consent. For those who do not have the consent, we will inform the concerned police station to take necessary action.”

The NGT order in the case of Wassan Singh v Punjab directed the central pollution control board (CPCB) and MoEF to take action in order to arrest large scale dereliction of the legal obligation, which is running of units without obtaining proper consent to operate from the competent authority.

“We further direct the concerned pollution control board or boards and the CPCB to file ATR in the registry of the tribunal within a period of three weeks and ensure that all the procedure for sealing the illegally run or operated factories or units is immediately undertaken without waiting for any order,” a bench headed by Justice V R Kingaonkar observed.

NGT also said that local police shall extend all cooperation to the pollution control board in the sealing process. “Functioning of all the illegally run factories or industries shall be immediately stopped,” Kingaonkar directed.