Although the KSPCB had issued a closure order back in 2012, it was overturned by an appellate authority order and was later stuck in a legal tangle.

Citizen activism wins KSPCB issues closure order on Graphite India in Whitefield
news Environment Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 19:26

The sustained two-decade long legal fight by the residents of Bengaluru’s Whitefield against Graphite India, for a cleaner and healthier environment, has finally paid dividends and reached its logical conclusion. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has issued a closure order and called for cutting off electricity, water supply to the factory in the neighbourhood.

“Along with the factory, we are sending it to concerned agencies/ departments. They have to take the steps to stop water and electricity supply,” Ramesh Kumar, Senior Environment Officer, KSPCB told TNM.  

The Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Urban District has been asked to seize the factory premises.

This development comes just two weeks after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled in favour of the petitioners, who claim they have been exposed to greater air pollution and are at a higher risk of pollution-related health complications since Graphite India continued operations by exploiting legal loopholes and due to lack of stringent measures by the KSPCB.

Read: Win for B’luru’s Whitefield residents: NGT restores ‘closure order’ on Graphite India

The NGT in its January 28 order had restored the closure order given by the KSPCB in 2012. However, the 2012 closure order by the KSPCB was overturned by an appellate authority order and was later stuck in a legal tangle.

The residents have been fighting against the factory in their backyard, which they claim has been polluting the ambient air over the years by violating norms.

The NGT order had asked for a study to be conducted within two months by an independent panel comprising members from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), KSPCB and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

The NGT order was preceded by the Supreme Court fining Graphite India Rs 50 lakh as per the 'polluters pay' principle in October 2018.The ‘polluter pays’ principle dictates that the liability for any damage incurred to the environment or an individual falls on the one who is responsible for the same.

Senior staff at the Bengaluru factory of Graphite India refused to speak on the matter.