Delhi is recording heavy population growth since 1951. As the city grows, its problems of land, housing, transportation and management of essential infrastructure like water supply and sewage have become more acute.Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The quality of ambient air is so hazardous that lung and respiratory diseases are on the increase. The city has become a vast and unmanagable conglomeration of commercial, industrial, unauthorised colonies, resettlement colonies and unplanned housing. There is a total lack of open and green areas. Once a beautiful city, Delhi now presents a chaotic picture. The only way to relieve the capital city from the huge additional burden and pressures is to deconcentrate the population, industries and economic activities in the city and relocate the same in various priority towns in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Under the Delhi Development Act of 1957, the Master Plan for Delhi, 1962 (MPD-62) was prepared and the same recommended the setting up of National Capital Region Planning Board. Accordingly, the National Capital Region Planning Board Act,1985 was enacted.The National Capital Region constituted the Union teritorry of Delhi and parts of the states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Again in 1990 a master plan for Delhi-perspective 2001 was published by the Central Government of India. This master plan prohibited mainly two kinds of industries from operating in Delhi. They are 1) Hazardous and Noxious Industries [H(a)industries] 2)Heavy and large Industries[H(b) Industries]. The plan also prescribed a maximum period of three years from,1990 for exiting H(a) Industries to shift. For H(b) Industries,no prescibed period to shift provided by the plan nevertheless, they were required to shift to Delhi Metropolitan Area (DMA) or NCR keeping in view the regional plan and the National Industrial Policy of thr Government of India. The Court observed that Although no period has been prescribed for the shifting of these Industries [H(b)] but inthe absence of any such provision the shifting has to be done within a reasonable time,period of six years from August 1990 when the master plan came into force, is more than reasonable period for these Industries to shift from Delhi.
The Supreme Court has been monitoring this matter since January, 1995. On March 24, 1995 the Supreme Court directed the Central Pollution Control Board to issue individual notices to 8378 polluting industries in Delhi. Apart from individual notices public notices through Newspapers, Radio and Television broadcasting were given. The Supreme Court has offered all assistance to the industries in the process of relocation. But there was no response from the industries. The Court gave them further opportunities but in vein. On May 10, 1995 the Supreme Court has directed the Secretary,Urban Development Department,Government of India to indicate by way of an affidavite as to which of the industrial estates in NCR are available for relocation. On November 15,1995 the Delhi Pollution Control Committee a list of the industries which are categorised as H(a) and H(b). Far from agreeing to relocate,the industries even challanges the categorisation done by the committee. The Court also gave several opportunities to the identified H(a) and H(b) industries to represent and file objections against their categorisation. The Central Pollution Control Board the issued notices to 9164 industries in Delhi to show cause why they be not directed shift from Delhi. After the response to these norices and hearing the objection the board identified 104 units as H [i.e H(a) and H(b)] industries. Therefore,with the 104 units identified by the Central Pollution Control Board, and the 59 units identified by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the 5 units which were operating in non_conforming areas,a total of 168 industries were identified at the first instance as hazardous/noxious/heavy/large industries falling in H(a) and H(b) categories of the Delhi master plan.
The Court finally held that
The 168 identified industries should relocate/shift themselves to any other indstrial estate in the NCR. These industries were directed to stop functioning and operating in the city of Delhi with effect from November 30,1996. Such closure was made unconditional even if the relocation of the industries are not complete by that date.
The National Planning Board was directed to render all assistance to the industries in the process of relocation.
Various facilities were ordered to be provided for the shifting industries like allotment of plots, priority in licences/permissions, construction of factory building in the new location.
The land which would become available on account of shifting / relocation of thee industries was required to be used in the manner directed by the Court by a separate order. [Passed by the Supreme Court on May 10,1996 in I.A.22 in writ petition (c) 4677/85].
The shifting industres on the relocation in the industral areas were ordered to be giveninsentives in terms of the provision of the Delhi master plan and also the incentives which are normally extended to new indsutrial estates.
The court also ordered for various benefits and rights to the workmen employed in those 168 industries.
The court taking this active leap towards sustainable development also observed that the process of identifying H(a) and H(b) industries is not complete in Delhi and the Court would continue to identify and relocate the remaining H category industries. Therefore,the Court has directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to issue individual notices to the next set of H category industries.