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Mall’s not well, GPCB begins survey of those flouting rules :

Only two malls have environmental clearance; action to be taken after findings are known, states GPCB

Express News Service Ahmedabad, September 15: Mall mania may have gripped Ahmedabad, but the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) hasn’t taken to some of them. GPCB officials have begun a survey of mega shopping malls, which have not acquired the mandatory environment clearance as per the July 2004 amendment in Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.

In July 2004, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had issued a notification making it mandatory for all big construction projects to obtain the clearance. What all fell under this category?

Any construction project falling under entry 31 of Schedule I of notification, including new townships, industrial townships, settlement colonies, commercial complexes, hospitals and office complexes for 1,000 persons or more; or discharging 50,000 litres sewage per day or having an investment of Rs 50 crore.

Only two shopping malls in Ahmedabad — Gulmohar Mall and Alpha One Mall in Vastrapur — have applied for clearance. Many shopping malls with an investment of more than Rs 50 crore have come up in the city.

Among them are the Gallops Mall near Iskcon Circle, Iscon Mall on S-G Highway, SG Mall near the Thaltej Crossroads, R3 Mall on Drive-In Road, Zodiac Sqaure on SG Highway and Acropolis near Thaltej Crossroads.

Mahesh Pandya of Paryavaran Mitra said each of these projects is of more than Rs 50 crore so clearance is a must. ‘‘We have written to the GPCB, demanding to know how many malls have sought clearance,” he said.

However, sources in the real estate circle, said even today not many people are aware of any such amendment.

GPCB member secretary Sanjeev Tyagi said further action will be decided after the survey result is known. ‘‘It’s too early to say at the moment. But we will be able to decide once the survey is over,’’ he said.

Ankleshwar unit violated rules:

GPCB The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) authorities on Wednesday detected solid waste buried inside the premises of Fecom Industries, involved in manufacturing pesticides, in Ankleshwar industrial estate. Giving this information, GPCB regional officer (Ankleshwar) V R Ghadge said on a tip-off, they had dug up at eight to 10 places within the factory premises and found huge quantities of solid wastes buried under the soil. He said this was in clear violation of the existing rules and invited severe action. Ghadge said there was a landfill site developed by the local industries association on the outskirts of the town for dumping solid industrial wastes, but the violating unit preferred to dump it in its own premises. Gadghe said the chemicals present in the waste might contaminate underground water. He added that a sample of the waste had been taken and sent for chemical analysis.

Express News Service Ahmedabad, September 15

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