Gangtok, July 8:
Two pharmaceutical units operating in Sikkim have been shut down after a notice of closure was issued by the State Pollution Control Board recently.
These two companies, Alembic Pharmaceuticals and Ideal Cures Ltd. have been found discharging the industrial waste beyond the prescribed limit in the river.
Alembic Pharmaceuticals is located at Samardung in South Sikkim while Ideal Cures Ltd. has been operating at Pacheykhani in East Sikkim. The notice of temporary shutdown to the former was issued on June 5 while to the latter was issued on June 11.Both the units are presently non-operational.
“The closure directions contain rectifications required in proper operation of Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) so that it is in compliance with the standard prescribed norms. Once it is rectified the units may be operational after the verification by the board officials,” informed a senior official at the head office of Sikkim Pollution Control Board.
He said that the board is making regular monitoring of all the companies which come under the purview of Pollution Control Board.The action has been taken under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Environment Protection Act of, 1986.
The state Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management department, Principal Secretary, M.L. Srivastava, who is also the Chairman of the board told SIKKIM CHRONICLE that these two companies were served show cause notices which they did not respond to following which the action was taken after the report submitted by the inquiry committee.
“Similar action would be taken against the companies which shall not comply with the ETP norms”, he added. Alembic Pharmaceuticals primarily produces generic medicines which much like other Indian pharmaceutical companies, primarily cater to the demand of cheap medicines in the world market. The formulation unit in south Sikkim however, mainly manufactures drugs for the Indian domestic market.
Meanwhile, Ideal Cure is one of India’s leading manufacturers and exporter of pharmaceutical excipients and ready-to-use coating systems for solid oral dosage forms.
Sikkim High Court on June 14 passed an order stating that Amici Curiae (is someone who is not a party to a case) shall conduct an inspection of all the pharmaceutical companies to examine as to whether effluents are being released into the rivers and the method of solid waste management adopted by these companies. They shall also examine whether there are outlets from the factories into the rivers/jhoras located as they are, along the banks of the rivers and near the jhoras.
There are forty-eight functional pharmaceutical companies in the state.The court has also directed the central government advocate to submit a report on rain water harvesting and whether this is being practiced by all these companies; whether independent studies have been conducted on ground water in the state of Sikkim and whether all pharmaceutical companies have installed water flow meters to monitor the quantum of ground water extraction if being extracted by them and whether the meters are tamper proof.
As an interim measure, it is ordered that all pharmaceutical companies in the state shall install CCTV cameras at such strategic places from where effluents are likely to be discharged into the rivers/jhoras from the factories. Unedited recordings of the CCTV cameras are to be submitted on a weekly basis.