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Unauthorised Dyeing Units Responsible For Delhi’s ‘Cancer Colony’?

There are about 300 denim jeans dyeing units operating unauthorisedly in Shiv Vihar area of Karawal Nagar in Delhi.

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A locality in Delhi is now being called ‘the cancer colony’. People here say that a staggering percentage of residents here have been afflicted with the dreaded disease. We are talking of the Shiv Vihar Colony in North-East Delhi’s Karawal Nagar area. Approximately 300 dyeing units here are involved in the business of colouring of denim jeans. Residents allege that these mushrooming dyeing units are affecting the ground water adversely and taking a toll on their health.

There has been no comprehensive study or research regarding the shocking allegation. But people here allege that in the absence of proper effluent treatment methods, the hazardous dyeing chemicals are diverted to the drains from where they seep into the ground, breaching water tables. Sadly, the water tables here are the residents’ only source of water for drinking, bathing and cleaning.

High Court Intervenes

After the matter was brought forth by the media, the High Court took cognisance of the situation and ordered a survey. It has ordered the Delhi govt, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the Central government, the Central Ground Water Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Board to study the situation and submit a report. It has also ordered that officials who gave permissions for the industrial units within residential localities be brought to book.

The Acting Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar bench has also hauled up the Delhi police for neglecting the matter.

Not Just Dyeing Units, There Are Other Industries Too

It is not just denim jeans dyeing units that have mushroomed here. There are other businesses that are being run here by cocking a nook to the regulatory authorities, too. Some people run unauthorised units involved in manufacturing and packing of limestone (chuna) which is used as an ingredient in betel leaf paan shops, brass-ware and other metal works.

The dyeing industry does use some chemicals that could cause cancer. But the scale on which people in Shiv Vihar are being affected by cancer, warrants a thorough study.
Dr RK Grover, Director of Delhi State Cancer Hospital

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta & Mohd Ibrahim

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