After Vizag Gas Leak, Andhra to Frame New Law for Environment Protection with Heavy Fine for Violators

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh government is contemplating the introduction of  State Environment Improvement Act to check pollution and protect the environment. The law includes strict action against violators, including heavy penalties.

The development assumes significance as it comes after a leak from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam on May 7 left 11 dead.

During a review meeting, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy stressed on the need to frame a new Act for controlling the pollution levels in the state, especially in hazardous industries.

The heavy penalties, the chief minister said, will curb violations similar to how the steep hike in liquor prices brought down the rate of alcohol consumption.

He directed the officials to constantly monitor industrial pollution and make sure that the guidelines of Pollution Control Board (PCB) are duly followed. The CM asked the officials to work on a real-time basis and take stern action against those flouting the rules.

The chief minister also said that all the industries would have to submit a compliance report for a given period and all these reports will be audited by a  third-party. He further directed the officials of PCB to focus on the empanelled environmental agencies and ascertain the details.

The officials were asked to focus on industries situated in red and orange zone areas and upload data and detailed reports of the same on an online public domain with a real-time interface.

The chief minister told officials to pay heed to the creation of a proper alert system during emergency situations and prepare a standard operating procedure for the alert management. The officials were also asked to adopt advanced technology for effective disposal of waste.

On May 7, a gas leaked from an LG Polymers chemical plant at RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam and quickly spread to villages in a five-kilometre radius, killing at least 11 people and impacting about 1,000 lives.