51 pol­lut­ing fac­to­ries em­ploy­ing chil­dren shut in Karawal Na­gar

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - Prawesh Lama prawesh.lama@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: The state gov­ern­ment’s dis­as­ter man­age­ment team stum­bled upon 51 il­le­gal fac­to­ries, mostly al­mond shelling units, while trac­ing the source of dust pol­lu­tion in a res­i­den­tial area in an east Delhi neigh­bour­hood. The ad­di­tional district mag­is­trate, north­east, MK Dwivedi, or­dered the fac­to­ries to be sealed.

There were over 1,000 labour­ers, in­clud­ing chil­dren, work­ing in the 51 units. Ac­cord­ing to a dis­as­ter man­age­ment re­port, most fac­to­ries were ‘dis­charg­ing nanopar­ti­cles, which were af­fect­ing the lives of res­i­dents’.

Last week, when Delhi’s air qual­ity reached the se­vere level, some res­i­dents of Karawal Na­gar ap­proached the district ad­min­is­tra­tion about dust in their area. The pol­lu­tion lev­els in east and north­east­ern parts of Delhi are usu­ally on the higher side com­pared to the other parts of the city. Ar­eas around Karawal Na­gar, such Anand Vi­har and Delhi- Ghazi­abad bor­der, are the most pol­luted in terms of the Air Qual­ity In­dex. The res­i­dents would have ig­nored the dust but were sud­denly con­scious af­ter news re­ports of Delhi’s foul air and re­alised the un­usual pol­lu­tion in their area. It was then that the District Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity in­spected the area and found the fac­to­ries.

The DDMA re­port filed by a project of­fi­cer stated that the labour­ers work­ing in the 51 units were re­mov­ing tonnes and tonnes of dry fruit shells, caus­ing its dust to dis­perse in the air. The re­port also stated that the other fac­to­ries man­u­fac­tur­ing iron pipes, speak­ers, card­boards and acid were us­ing diesel-filled gen­er­a­tor sets, which are highly pol­lut­ing and tem­po­rar­ily banned un­der the Graded Re­sponse Ac­tion Plan.

ADM Dwivedi said, “We have or­dered the seal­ing of these fac­to­ries un­der sec­tion 133 of the CRPC, which au­tho­rises the district mag­is­trate to re­move or stop any ac­tiv­ity that causes pub­lic nui­sance. We have writ­ten to the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion ask­ing for a com­pli­ance re­port about the seal­ing of fac­to­ries. Our of­fi­cers who con­ducted the raid had prob­lems breath­ing inside the fac­tory.”

The of­fi­cer said that be­cause of the dust, most res­i­dents in the area had res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems. “Our team raided the fac­to­ries and saw that women and chil­dren were work­ing in haz­ardous con­di­tions.the kids were made to hide in sacks of al­mond shells, when our teams raided the units.”

Of­fi­cials said that dif­fer­ent teams in north­east Delhi are con­duct­ing sur­veys on il­le­gal fac­to­ries to keep a check on pol­lu­tion.

There were over 1,000 labour­ers, in­clud­ing chil­dren, work­ing in the 51 units.

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