Government has recently constituted a committee to identify polluting industries in Hyderabad (inside ORR) within a month. APIIC has also been entrusted with the job of identifying and allocating some 16,000 acres for such purpose outside ORR, and probably within the extended HMDA area. One such area is Yacharam mandal - some four villages have been named already.
I think this is not a good, environment-friendly move. Pristine areas are likely to be affected, with more displacement. More water resources, especially tanks are likely to be encroached, polluted and vandalised. Instead of controlling pollution, government has rised yet again the prospects of conflict between primary livelhoods and real estate/industry lobbies., with partisan role being played by the government in favour of the latter.
It is likely that the government would circumvent the public consultation and hearing process, necessary for such relocation. Farmers and residents to be impacted are likely to be misled on development, jobs and economy. This move is not as per the HMDA (draft) Master Plan 2031.
We need to monitor this process closely. We also need to demand the following:
1. Identification process of polluting industries in Hyderabad should continue. Segregation of the identified industries has to be done based on the hazard potential, pollution capacities, employment potential, market potential for the products, etc.
2. Locational criteria need to be developed, and widely disseminated based on such segregation.
2. Civil Society representation should be ensured in this process of identification and residual decision-making.
3. Consultations have to be held with the communities around the industries in the existing locations and potential locations.
4. Land banks of HMDA, APIIC and other land allocating agencies should be sanitised from including tanks, cheruvus, nalas and catchment zones.
5. Environmental Public Hearing process has to be followed for each and every industry relocated.
6. Environmental Liability should be invoked on the industries identified for their pollution, and government should sign 'pollution cleaning' agreements. These agreements should include mechanisms of cleaning polluted sites, including all natural resources, such as funds, technical expertise, processes, timelines and schedules. this agreement should include liability for all kinds of wastes. There should not be any waste left on the site, or off the site.
7. Development of proper and appropriate R&R package for communities, affected and to be affected, by such shifting should be developed and announced. It should be acceptable to such communities.
8. Care should be taken to avoid pollution of water resources, especially lakes, cheruvus and nalas, in the whole process.
9. Review of HMDA (draft) Master Plan in these circumstances. It should be put on hold until the plan for shifting becomes a reality, so as to include concomitant factors in the Plan.