Thursday, August 2, 2012

CPCB submits error ridden misleading affidavit, fails to file report on groundwater contamination around site of Bhopal's industrial disaster in Supreme Court

CPCB Chairperson urged to
recall, revise the misleading report and file a fresh affidavit

Direction of groundwater flow and contamination around Bhopal plant is along Northeast axis


New Delhi July 31, 2012: In a letter to
Mira Mehrishi, Chairperson, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Additional Secretary
Union Ministry of Environment & Forests, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has revealed the glaring loopholes and errors in the 13 page attached misleading affidavit of CPCB in the matter of drinking water in Dow Chemicals Company's Union Carbide Corporation (UCC)ⳠBhopal plant area filed in Hon'ble Supreme Court on July 17, 2012. The letter is attached.

The affidavit was filed as a follow up of TWA's letter dated July 14, 2012, assurance of Vijay Panjwani, CPCB lawyer and court's order dated March 28 and April 19, 2012.

The bench of Hon⢬e Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar had directed, 㔨e Central Pollution Control Board, which has been added as party to these proceedings, and represented in Court today, shall also file a report with regard to the removal of contamination of the ground water in the area where Union Carbide factory/plant is situated䠯n March 28, 2012 in I.A. No.43 of 2007 in Writ Petition (Civil)No. 657 of 1995. The court in its order dated April 19 has directed, 㴨e Central Pollution Control Board is given time to file its composite report by 4th June, 2012.䠂oth the orders are enclosed.

Supreme Court lawyer for Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had assured that バCB would file report (on groundwater contamination by DowⳠBhopal plant) as soon it is ready. There is no reason for CPCB to hold back or delay filing of report on contaminated ground water in Arif Nagar,etc near UCC/UCIL/DOW CHEMICAL plant in Bhopal.伢r>
It is also sad that instead of acting as per Hon'ble Court's order, the affidavit refers to a business as usual study that was commissioned to IITR as per its letter dated January 24, 2012 that seems to task IITR to ensure compliance with NEERI's study. This study is not in compliance with the Hon'ble Court's order dated March 28, 2012 because it was commissioned 2 months prior to the order.

At page 2 of the affidavit filed by Dr D D Basu reads: "the officials of the Central Pollution Control Board visited the area on 7th June, 2012 and examined the matter and are of the view that the de-contamination of the ground water needs following information as a pre-requisite.

  • Status of water quality of the ground water in the formal UCIL premises, Bhopal.
  • To what extent with respect to area, the ground water is contaminated.
  • Options of technology available for ground water remediation"
At page 3 of the affidavit it is stated that "with respect to ground water quality, Central Pollution Control Board has already commissioned the service of Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), Lucknow vide No. A-14011/1/2011-Mon/9348 dated 24/01/2012..."

The two out of three the Terms of Reference (TOR) for IITR mentioned in the affidavit reads: "Collection of the ground water samples of 36 locations as indicated in the report of NEERI and analysed for the following parameters...:" and "Data generated on groundwater and soil quality shall be put together to revalidate the observations in the June 2010 report of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur." It may be noted that NEERI study's assumption of direction of flow of ground water in the UCC's plant area has been contested. Both these TORs appear motivated as it appears to decide the direction and inference of the IITR study.

It further states that "once the revalidation is completed, a strategy of remediation of contaminated soil and ground water can be worked out. This shall take one year to develop the module of decontamination of soil and ground water." It is revealed that "IITR has requested to Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department (BGTRRD) for facilitation of sampling of soil and ground water in and around the UCIL premises."

It is clear from these admissions in the affidavit that the "report with regard to the removal of contamination of the ground water in the area where Union Carbide factory/plant is situated" as directed by the Hon'ble Court is not yet complete and only correspondence with regard to the same has happened.

The concluding sentence of the affidavit at page 4 reads: " Meanwhile, CPCB through his Zonal Office-Bhopal collected samples of drinking water being supplied by Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) on 7th June, 2012 from six locations. It is observed that the water quality is within the limit of drinking water". It concludes by saying that " The detailed report of drinking water sampling ar Arif Nagar (Near UCIL premises), Bhopal is Annexed."

It is evident from what is mentioned at page 2 of the affidavit that CPCB was directed to examine contamination of ground water in the are where UCC factory is located. But after admitting that the examination is not yet complete, CPCB undertook the formality of testing samples of BMC's drinking water supply and casually talks about how "possibility of cross contamination" with dirty water "cannot be ruled out" at page 7 (in the annex) of the affidavit. There is reference to "one sample from bore well being used by a local small restaurant (Ayasha Hotel)." The pagination of the affidavit is irregular that gives an impression that some pages of the annexure may be missing or may have got left out.

The Hon'ble Court had asked for "report with regard to the removal of contamination of the ground water in the area where Union Carbide factory/plant is situated" instead an irrelevant "Report of Drinking Water Sampling At Arif Nagar (Near UCIL Premises) Bhopal" has been filed.

All the titles of all the 3 tables which are annexed as part of the affidavit is faulty, misleading and factually incorrect. Table 1 at page 11 is titled "Analysis results of ground water monitoring carried out by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)".

The fact is the affidavit itself reveals that CPCB did not undertake the ground water monitoring as it has been 'commissioned' to IITR which in turn has sought the assistance of BGTRRD.

Table 2 at page 12 is titled "Analysis results of ground water monitoring carried out by Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (M.PPCB)".

Table 3 at page 13 is titled "Analysis results of ground water monitoring carried out by Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (M.PPCB)".

The fact is at page 9 of the affidavit it is incorrectly claimed that "Groundwater sampling was carried out at six locations by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB)."

At page 5 of the affidavit the six locations from where water samples were taken on June 7, 2012 between 3 PM to 6 PM are mentioned. It is explicitly mentioned that 5 of these samples were from "Drinking water supply by BMC", there is just one sample from Borewell in Street No. 8 being used by Ayasha Hotel at Arif Nagar, Bhopal.

It is evident from the affidavit of the CPCB that its team visited UCC's factory site after the expiry of the Hon'ble court's deadline.

It is noteworthy that former employees of the UCC's plant have shared the list of toxic substances in the factory premises. These include:
1 Ortho dichlorobenzene, 2 Carbon tetrachloride, 3 Chloroform, 4 Methyl Chloride, 5 Methanol, 6 Mercury, 7 Sevin, 8 Alpha Naphthol etc.

UCC's chemical plant dealt with a multitude of organic compounds to manufacture the pesticide carbaryl (Sevin). Phosgene and Monomethyl amine (MMA) were the main raw materials involved in the process of manufacturing Methyl iso-cyanate (MIC), which in turn was used in combination with excess alpha-naphthol to produce Sevin. By-products like chloroform,carbon tetrachloride, MMA, ammonium chloride, dimethyl urea were all collected and recycled back to the process.

Toxic substances stored inappropriately inside the UCC's plant site are believed to have entered the soil and the ground water aquifer. It may be noted that the 1996 study of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad showed the presence of Heavy metals(Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Lead, Manganese Nickel andZinc) in wastes dumped within the factory. Naphthol and other volatile organic matter were also detected in the same waste. Leaching from these wastes cannot be ruled out.

Notably, the UCC plant was in operation from 1977 to 1984. After the industrial disaster in December 1984, the factory operations ceased and the site was abandoned. It is clear that since no remediation activities ever took place, the pesticide products and their production intermediates serve as ongoing pollutants to the environment, in particular, the groundwater.

A recent thesis titled "A Deterministic and Probabilistic Analyses of the Carbon Tetrachloride Contaminant Plume in Groundwater at the Former Union Carbide India Limited Factory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India" submitted to the Faculty of the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University in 2012 attempts to describe the contaminant plume of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in the groundwater using analytical models provided by publicly the available software known as analytical contaminant transport analysis system (ACTS). It notes that CCl4 is known to have adverse effects on human health when consumed through the drinking water and is classified as possibly carcinogenic by the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The calibrated deterministic results show that concentrations of CCL4 do not exceed the U.S. EPA maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) roughly 850 m from the source in the northeast direction. Probabilistic simulations show that there is a 100% probability that CCl4 concentrations exceed WHO specified MCL up to the year 2034 at sites 500m, 1000 m and 2000 m northeast of the UCIL site.

It may be noted that within the NEERI report from 2010, the direction of groundwater in the region of UCC's plant is reported to be in both the Northeast and Southeast direction. The Greenpeace report from 1999, citing an earlier report by NEERI, stated that the direction of groundwater flow is along a Northeast axis. The thesis states, "Given that the contaminant concentrations used for calibration increased along the Northeast axis, it was assumed for the purposes of this study that the direction of groundwater flow was along the Northeast axis."

It is noteworthy that Greenpeace International's 1999 study had found Chloroform, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tricholroethane, Tetrachloroethane, Hexachloroethane,, Chlorobenzene, Dichlorobenzenes and Trichlorobenzenes were detected in the groundwater by Organic Screening Analysis. Concentrations of Chloroform, Carbontetrachloride, Dichlorobenzenes and Trichlorobenzenes in groundwater exceeded WHO standards at Bhopal's JP Nagar and Atal Ayub Nagar.

In such a context, the submission by the CPCB official is manifestly quite inadequate. In In view of the errors and inadequacy of the report, TWA in its letter has urged the Chairperson of CPCB to ensure that the CPCB's affidavit is recalled, revised and a fresh affidavit is filed at the earliest.

Copies of the letter has been sent to Neel Kamal Darbari, Joint Secretary, Bhopal Gas Cell, Union Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Dr N P Shukla, Chairman, Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Dr K C Gupta, Director, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow, Dr. D. D. Basu, Scientist 'E' & In charge, PAMS Division, CPCB, R.S. Kori, Scientist 'E' & (In charge Zonal Office Central), CPCB, Anirudh Mukherjee, Commissioner-cum-Director, Directorate of Gas Relief and Rehabilitation, Bhopal among others.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 9818089660, E-mail-krishna1715@gmail.com, Phone: +91-11-26517814,
Fax: +91-11-26517814


 

WASHINGTON: The new Inter-Services Intelligence Chief Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam held talks in the United States on Wednesday after a prolonged gap as the countries look to renew their uneasy cooperation in battling extremists.
The ISI Chief comes just after Pakistan agreed to give NATO convoys access to its border with Afghanistan.
Islam held meetings Wednesday at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, a person familiar with his trip said. Spokespeople for the CIA and Pakistani embassy declined comment.
Islam was appointed in March after the retirement of ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who led the agency since September 2008.
Pakistan had shut its border to NATO convoys in November last year after a US air strike killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Islamabad reopened land routes seven months later after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said sorry over the deaths.
On Tuesday, Pakistan signed a deal to let convoys through until the end of 2015, in a major relief for the United States, which plans to pull most troops out of Afghanistan before then.



India's exports contracted for the second consecutive month in June by 5.45 per cent, year-on- year, to USD 25 billion on account of growing economic uncertainties in the Western markets.

Besides, reflecting slowdown in the domestic economy, imports too dipped sharply by 13.46 percent to USD 35.37 billion, from USD 40.8 billion in June 2011, resulting in a narrower trade deficit of USD 10.3 billion for the month.
The decline in the country's shipments comes amid India's economic growth slipping to 9-year low of 6.5 percent in 2011-12, and subdued industrial output in the first two months of the current fiscal.
"The contraction in global demand and deceleration in manufacturing are primary reason for decline in exports," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Rafeeque Ahmed said on Wednesday.
According to the data released by the Commerce Ministry on Wednesday, exports during the April-June quarter of 2012-13 fiscal dipped by 1.7 percent to USD 75.2 billion, from USD 76.5 billion in the same period last fiscal.
Commerce Secretary S R Rao has said the markets in the euro zone, the US, China and Japan are still not showing healthy growth and these are signs of global recession.
Imports during the first quarter of this fiscal dipped by 6.10 percent to USD 115.25 billion, from USD 122.74 billion in the April-June period of last fiscal.
Trade deficit during the quarter stood at USD 40 billion. Experts expressed relief over narrowing trade deficit.
"Trade deficit has come down. We expect it to be under control in the coming months," international trade expert with Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Rakesh Mohan Joshi said.
Decline in exports was particularly witnessed in sectors like handicrafts, jute, tea and cashew.
Top exporting commodities during the April-June quarter included rice, which increased 104 percent, iron ore (40 percent), oil meal (38 percent) and spices (35 percent).
In value terms, exports of petroleum products (USD 12.9 billion), engineering goods (USD 14.6 billion), gems and jewellery (USD 10 billion), and pharmaceutical and readymade garments too showed strong growth.
Imports of petroleum products touched USD 41.5 billion during April-June 2012.
Other importing sectors which registered growth include gems and silver (USD 9.4 billion). machinery (USD 8.5 billion), electronics (USD 7.1 billion).

India has allowed investment from Pakistan

In a major decision, India has allowed investment from Pakistan paving way for Islamabad to normalise bilateral economic ties by implementing much-delayed Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status for New Delhi.

"The Government of India has reviewed the policy...and decided to permit a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan to make investments in India," the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a press note in New Delhi on Wednesday.
However, strategic sectors of defence, space and atomic energy have been kept out of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Pakistan, it said.
Also, the FDI proposals from the neighbouring country would need clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Hailing the decision, the Indian industry said that Pakistani businessmen can explore sectors like cement, textiles and sports for investments in the country.
"It is a great decision...Now Pakistan should also implement the MFN status to India," Ficci Secretary General Rajiv Kumar said.
SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Vikramjit Singh Sahney termed the decision as one of the strongest confidence building measures to improve bilateral relations.
"Pakistan should also take similar steps and allow Indian businessmen to invest in their country," CII Director General Chandrajeet Banerjee said.
Although Pakistan had notified granting the MFN status to India in March this year, it is yet to implement it fully.
However, Pakistan had partially liberalised its trade regime with India in March when it shifted from positive list rules to negative-meaning barring 1209 items Islamabad would allow import of all other Indian goods.
Analysts feel that Wednesday’s decision would help the Pakistan government to convince the MFN opponents about its trade bargains with India.
India had granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996 which means that Islamabad will give treatment to Indian imports at par with its other trading partners.Pakistan welcomes Indian decision to allow Pakistani direct foreign investment in India. 

Pakistan terms the Indian decision to allow Pakistani direct foreign investment in India as a positive step.
Pakistan has termed the Indian decision to allow Pakistani direct foreign investment in India as a positive step.In a statement Foreign office welcoming it said that Pakistan will take up the decision according to the rules and regulations of the country. Earlier‚ India decided to allow foreign direct investment from Pakistan in a move to boost bilateral economic relations.An official statement issued in New Delhi said the government after reviewing the policy has decided to permit a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan to make investments in India in sectors and activities other than defence‚ space and atomic energy.

Six outfits shedding blood in Balochistan: Pak report

 

ISLAMABAD: A latest report issued by Pakistan Ministry of Interior says at least six militant outfits are directly involved in the prevailing unrest in Balochistan, Geo News reported Wednesday.
The report was presented in a meeting of Special Cabinet Committee on Balochistan.
Pakistan Ministry of Interior in its report also pointed fingers towards shady activities perpetrated by certain Afghan refugees as one of the reasons behind the deteriorating law & order situation in the province.
According to the report, at least 868 people have been killed in Balochistan since 2010.
A breakup showed around 378 persons were killed in 2010, 228 during 2011, and about 262 people became the victim of violence this year.
It was also revealed that the number of missing persons has reached as high as 2,390 so far.
Outfits like Lashkar Balochistan, Mussalah Difa Tanzeem, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, BLA, BRA, and BLF are among the culprits, which have turned Balochistan into a killing field.

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