Hyderabad: Nearly 8 years after the government planned to move 1,160 polluting factories beyond the outer ring road area of Hyderabad, the units continue to contaminate air and water within the city limits. 

In response to a question filed by the Forum for Good Governance under the RTI Act, the state government said that the industries department was yet to take action concerning the factories. In fact, licences have been issued for the establishment of 835 new highly polluting set-ups within the jurisdiction of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

In its efforts to reduce pollution in Hyderabad, the then Andhra Pradesh government had called for a high-level meeting on March 24, 2012, with the representatives of industries in the Telangana region. At the meeting, it was decided to identify the polluting factories within the limits of the outer ring road and move them beyond ORR. 

The government of the time also constituted a committee to prepare a dossier on such units. After a detailed inquiry, the committee identified 1,160 such set-ups from industries like pharmaceutical, chemical, tannery, bleaching, dying, tobacco, pesticides and bulk drugs. Of these, 803 belonged to the highly polluting ‘red’ category, while the remaining 357 were from the ‘orange’ or moderately polluting industries.

According to the Forum for Good Governance (FGG), no progress has been made on this front in all these years and the factories continue to pose grave risks to the lives of lakhs of Hyderabadis.

FGG secretary P Padmanabhan Reddy said the ‘red’ and ‘orange’ category factories release their untreated waste into nearby streams. The toxic chemicals eventually find their way to the Musi river and other water bodies like the Hussain Sagar. 

Reddy said, “The government has spent hundreds of crores to clean Musi and Hussain Sagar without any positive result. The new industries will further damage the environment unless urgent steps are taken to relocate the industries and it’s ensured that only fully treated effluents are released into the water bodies.”

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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