Industrial facilities are a significant source of pollution.West Bengal’s rapid industrial growth has placed a lot of strain on the environment. According to the CAG report on Performance Audit of Pollution by Industries in West Bengal, the state once had the most number of industries. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), a division of the Department of Environment, was constituted immediately after the Water (Prevention and Control of Water Pollution) Act, 1974, and functions as astatutory authority for implementing environmental laws in the state. The board requires any industrial operation to obtain CTE and CTO for stone crushers before starting any stone operations in the state. As per section 21 of the Water (P&CP) Act, 1974, no person is permitted to operate an industrial plant without the previous consent of the state Board for any industry in an air pollution control area.
One of the major issues that the West Bengal Government is facing today is regularising stone-crushing operations in the state.Over 12,000 stone-crushing facilities are thought to exist in India. A substantial number of these crushers are running in West Bengal, but as per the Comprehensive Industry Document Stone Crushers, the exact number is unknown. In 2019, the NGT directed that stone-crushing units must obtain prior Environmental Clearance from the SEIAA or the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority. SEIAA, which is the agency that will grant the EC in the state, in an affidavit, stated thatstone-crushing activity has not been included in the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and that there was no provision in the ‘PARIVESH Portal’.Therefore, in January, the WBPCB released an order mandating that application for EC in case of all stone crushing units between 0 to 5 hectares will be dealt by the SEIAA instead of DEAC/ DEIAA.
Relevance of WBPCB CTE and CTO for stone crushers
By exercising its powers conferred under section 19 of the Air Act of 1981, the Government of West Bengal declared the entire state as an ‘Air Pollution Control Area’.The WBPCB divides industrial units into Red, Orange, Green, and White categories based on the scale of the industry and resource usage. Any new and existing stone crushing unit that now needs CTO will need to obtain EC from the SEIAA under the Environment Impact Assessment Act of 2006, that list 39 different category enterprises requiring ECs. These industries are further screenedas Category A and B (B1 and B2) depending on the extent of their environmental impact. Industries in Category “A” must acquire EC from MoEF&CC by law. Industries in Category “B1” were required to request EC from SEIAAat the state level. Thereafter Consent to Establish (CTE) will be required before starting the project and, subsequently, a CTO. The WBPCB checks the implementation status of the CTE provisions and then only grants CTO after a site inspection.
Stone crushers that deal with minor minerals
The production of crushed stone in various sizes according to demand, which is used as the raw material for construction activities such as building roads, highways, bridges, buildings, canals, etc., is a significant industrial sector in the nation. These minor minerals can include river sand, black stone, china clay etc., and will need environmental clearance, which the s SEIAA will deal with. The requirement for stone crushers is expected to rise further in light of the state’s plans for constructing the buildings, roads, and canals necessary for the state’sinfrastructure development. The construction and infrastructure industries greatly benefit from the work done by stone crushers in the minor minerals business. The mining and processing of non-major minerals like sand, gravel, stone aggregates, limestone, granite, and other building supplies are part of the minor minerals sector. In this industry, stone crushers are crucial pieces of machinery that reduce massive boulders and stones to smaller sizes for usage in a variety of construction projects. Infrastructure expansion, urbanisation, and housing developments are the main factors driving the need for building materials.
Legalities applicable to stone crushers dealing with minor Minerals
According to the Air and Water Act, any industry that discharges trade effluent into a body of water, stream, well, sewer, or land must applyfor CTE and CTO for stone crushersbefore establishing a new unit or before expanding or modernising an existing unit. CTE was a crucial tool for enforcing the conditions set forth in the ECs to reduce water and air pollution. After receiving CTEs from the board, the stone-crushing units are required to submit applications for “Consent To Operate” (CTO) to the State Pollution Control Board. Without a legitimate CTO, no industry can function.
CTE and CTO for stone crushers are granted with the following requirements:
- name of the products/by-products, monthly production volume,
- parameters with defined standards, sample frequency for effluent and emissions,
- fuel type and quantity, etc.
As a result, WBPCB monitors CTO to determine whether environmental laws and standards are being followed with regard to the raw materials used, emissions, effluents, and waste discharges. WBPCB extended the CTO for red industries from three to five years of validity. The industry must, however, submit the renewal applications at least 120 days before the previous CTO expires.
Documents required for CTE and CTO for Stone Crushers
Consent to Establish: The WBPCB provides Consent to Establish (CTE) and Consent to Operate before the initiation of construction of the facility and before the initiation of operation of the facility (CTO). Documents needed in this regard are as follows.
Documents required for CTE
- Land-related documents like a rent agreement, receipt, land deed, porcha, and lease document.
- Gross Capital Investment Certificate in the form of self-certified undertaking
- Self-certified Site plan with a road map or route map
- Detailed Project Report with emission and effluent details, as well as solid waste management plan
- Application Fee
Documents required for CTO
- Land-ownership documents like rent agreements, land deeds, leases etc.
- Gross Capital Investment Certificate in Self-certified undertaking.
- Self-certified site plan/layout with road map/route map
- Project Report with details of emissions, solid waste management plan,
- raw materials, finished products, and manufacturing process, including the list of machinery
- Consent to Establish copy in case of Fresh Consent to Operate applications.
- Test Reports for effluent and emissions done within the last year
- Environmental Clearance
Steps to obtain WBPCB CTE and CTO for stone crushers dealing with minor minerals
There are precise rules established by the WBPCB that one has to adhere to in order to receive the CTE and CTO for stone crushers working with minor minerals. The application stages include
- Environmental Impact Assessment:The applicant must conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the planned stone-crushing plant. This report evaluates the project’s potential environmental implications and suggests mitigating actions to lessen negative effects. The applicant must also create an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) outlining the mitigation strategies that will be used to complete the environmental impact assessment.
- Submission of Application:One must accurately fill out the application form and submit all necessary paperwork, such as the EMP and EIA report.
- Review and Decision:The WBPCB will examine your application, the EMP, the site inspection results, and the EIA report. They will determine whether the envisioned stone-crushing facility conforms with applicable environmental standards and laws. The WBPCB will issue the certificates for consent to operate (CTO) and consent to Establish (CTE) if all conditions are satisfied. These certificates provide the stone crusher unit permission to be built and operated.
Additional Licence & Compliance
The owner of stone crushers working with minor minerals must ensure the prescribed environmental rules and requirements are followed after the NOCcertificate for CTE and CTO for stone crushers have been given.
- Comply with the mitigation strategies outlined in the EMP and regularly keep the necessary documents and reports.
- Follow the WBPCB-established procedures for CTO renewal in order to maintain it for the duration provided in the certificate.
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board’s (WBPCB) rules and regulations related to CTE and CTO for stone crushers must be followed when using stone crushers dealing with minor minerals. For stone crushers working with minor minerals, some additional approvals and permits will be needed apart from CTE and CTO, including:
- Obtain Mining Lease: Obtain the required mining permit or lease from the appropriate authority. This usually entails completing an application, supplying proof of land ownership or lease, and paying any necessary fees.
- Environmental Clearances:
- You might need to get environmental clearances or approvals from the environmental department or pollution control board, depending on the size and type of the activity.
- Carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to determine any potential environmental effects of the stone-crushing business and to recommend appropriate mitigation strategies.
- Create an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) detailing your approach to resolving and minimising environmental issues.
- Compliance Monitoring and Inspections:
- Be prepared for recurring inspections by representatives of the mining department or other authorised organisations to evaluate compliance with regulations.
- Work together with inspectors, offer pertinent data, and swiftly resolve any non-compliance issues.
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board provide the authorisation to legally operate and mine minor minerals from suitable locations in the form of CTE and CTO for stone crushers.However, it is essential to note that such activities are restricted in ecologically sensitive zones, protected areas such as sanctuaries, national parks, biosphere reserves, fragile river beds etc. Therefore, before establishing a stone crusher dealing with minor minerals, one must seek the assistance of environmental experts. Similarly, in the case of existing units operating with incomplete permit approvals, guidance in the licencing process can benefit the unit to continue its operations and maintain the applicable industrial compliance. Therefore, for a smooth and hassle-free ‘crushing’ business, it is important for the business owner to obtain CTE and CTO for stone crushersfrom all relevant authorities and the WBPCB.
Read our Article:Consent To Establish Vs Consent To Operate: Key Differences