The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has drawn up a comprehensive environmental management plan for Panipat. The board, however, has compromised on its standards in the very beginning. It has forgotten some of its clauses for giving the no-objection certificate to a project which entails setting up of new industrial units worth about Rs 10,000 crore in Panipat. The project is being promoted by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). The gigantic amount of investment and the concomitant gain to the state in terms of revenue and job opportunities has most probably led the HSPCB to do away with the clauses for the new projects. But according to the chairperson of the HSPCB, the new industrial units will take various measures to prevent environmental degradation ( Down To Earth , Vol 9, No 8).

He added that for the first time, Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI) has been asked to make a comprehensive study of the environment within a radius of 25 kilometres of the Panipat refinery. Data regarding the existing levels of pollution caused by the Panipat refinery and other units will be compiled by NEERI. An environmental management plan will be submitted by NEERI by the end of year 2000. On the basis of the NEERI report and the technology available, a comprehensive plan for improving environmental conditions will be drawn up.

The town of Panipat faces a severe health and ecological problem. The effects on health from the seepage of untreated effluents into the groundwater is a major source of concern for the people. The state government has decided to relocate dying and processing units, which cause maximum pollution. On the basis of a preliminary survey conducted by the HSPCB regional office a report has already been sent to the ministry of environment and forest.

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