The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 17 September 2013 notified that it banned industrial expansion in 8 industrial clusters. The ministry imposed moratorium on environmental clearance for eight new industrial projects- Indore and Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh), Vapi (Gujarat), Ghaziabad (UP), Ludhiana (Punjab), Patancheru-Bollaram (Andhra Pradesh), Panipat (Haryana) and Jharsuguda (Orissa).
The ban came in light of the survey which was conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 43 identified Critically Polluted Areas. The survey was conducted from February-April 2013. The survey revealed that the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) at these eight locations ranged from 70-80. The CEPI is based on the Environmental Quality Monitoring.
The CEPI mechanism was adopted by CPCB in the year 2009 and it indicates the environmental quality at any given location by considering the water, soil and air pollution. Areas which have the aggregated score of 70 and above are the critically polluted industrial clusters. In the meanwhile, the areas with the scores between 60 to 70 are severely polluted areas.
On the basis of this survey, moratorium was lifted off from 10 areas where the CEPI score was below 80 and reflected the decreasing pollution trend. These areas included Asansol (West Bengal), Bhiwadi (Rajasthan), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Dhanbad (Jharkhand), Korba (Chhattisgarh) and Manali (Tamil Nadu).
The CEPI score is an indicator of the fact that despite implementing the action plans for a time of 2.5 years, there was no significant improvement in environmental quality. Thereafter, the Ministry imposes or lifts off moratorium with the immediate effect or as notified.