Published by MAC on 2021-06-08
Source: Reuters, The Hindu, Bestmag, Batteries Internation (2021-06-07)
‘Gotta be a better way’.
Some of the industry’s own advocates have described lead battery “recycling” as perhaps the dirtiest in the world. But a form of blame-passing continues, in a world where this has become standard self-exculpatory behavior; where can we find others to accuse of doing worse than ourselves?
It seems the lengthy covid19 pandemic may now have outrun its usefulness as a recipient of such blame. And so, the “bigger game” of finding other, closer, targets, is extrapolating, with the hunters competing to nail even more illustrious “animalia” in the hope they can escape the wrath of the billions of us who envisage a truly anthropogenic future. Last month, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) issued notices to Amara Raja to close its manufacturing plants at Karakambadi and Nunegundlapalli in Chittoor district for “flouting norms”, The Hindu reported. Known for its brand Amaron, Amara Raja is the second largest selling automotive battery brand in India. The conglomerate headquartered in Tirupati was granted a stay of execution until June 17 by the Andhra Pradesh High Court after representations were made by Amara Raja Group managing director Galla Jayadev, who is also an MP for the Telugu Desam Party in India.
Brief relief for Amara Raja as High Court halts shut-down order
May 6, 2021
Up to 16,000 workers at the Amara Raja battery plants threatened with closure on April 30 could breathe sighs of relief on May 6 after the Andhra Pradesh High Court issued a stay of execution to the company.
The two manufacturing complexes, at Karakambadi and Nunegundlapalli in Chittoor district, were ordered to close by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) for polluting the air and causing high levels of lead in the blood of almost all staff at the plants as well as people living nearby, media reports said.
According to national newspaper The Hindu, the APPCB said that if the polluting units continued to operate after the shut-down orders were received, punitive action would be taken under the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1981.
However on Thursday the company was granted a stay of execution until June 17 by the Andhra Pradesh High Court after representations were made by Amara Raja Group managing director Galla Jayadev, who is also an MP for the Telugu Desam Party in India.
Amara Raja, whose motto is ‘Gotta be a better way’, actually began life at Karakambadi, a remote village near the town of Tirupati, when founder chairman Ramachandra N Galla returned from the US intending, according to the company, to make a difference ‘by ushering development in his homeland at Chittoor District’. It was here that the first manufacturing facility and office were built, in 1985.
The industrial complex there now has three of the company’s seven battery manufacturing factories, and the other four are at Nunegundlapalli, also formerly a village.
At the end of 2019, Amara Raja recorded an annual capacity total of 11 million batteries for four-wheelers, 15 million for two-wheelers, two billion amp hours of industrial batteries and one million tubular batteries.
When the notice to shut down was issued, a company spokesperson was quoted by much of the media as saying: “At a time of national emergency in the form of the Covid pandemic, such a dislocation could be calamitous.
“All our manufacturing plants have undergone various annual/bi-annual environmental audits and certifications over many years and have received several awards for safety and environmental sustainability and have adhered to the highest norms of environment, health and safety.”
A court date was listed for June 28 for the APPCB to file a report on the pollution aspects of the company.
India’s second biggest lead-acid battery maker has manufacturing suspension lifted
Indian firm Amara Raja Batteries has restarted the manufacturing of lead-acid batteries following the closure of two of its plants last month.
The company resumed operations at its Nunegundlapalli and Karkambadi plants on 8 May after the High Court of Andhra Pradesh granted an interim suspension of the orders passed by Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB), according to India newspaper The Financial Times.
Amara received closure orders for the company’s plants in Andhra Pradesh state on 30 April from APPCB.
The closure order was for allegedly violating the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, reported Indian newspaper The Hindu.
The Hindu reported “The company has been charged with polluting ambient air, which resulted in the presence of high levels of lead in the blood of its employees and people of surrounding villages, discharging untreated wastewater into drains and untreated sewage into stormwater drains and causing soil contamination”.
In a statement, Amara Raja said it had taken proactive measures to ensure its obligations to supply products and services were met without causing any inconvenience; it was assessing the impact of the short-term disruption.
The Financial Times quoted an Amara Raja statement that read: “Continuing with its focus on the best-in-class systems and processes for environmental, safety and health practices, the company will continue to engage closely with APPCB to resolve any potential issues.” Amara Raja Batteries noted: “We have taken proactive measures to ensure that all our obligations to supply products and services to our customers are met in a timely manner without causing any inconvenience, whatsoever.”
Amara did not reply to BEST’s questions.
APPCB orders Amara Raja Batteries to close its units in Chittoor district
May 01, 2021
The AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) has issued notices to the Amara Raja Batteries to close its manufacturing plants at Karakambadi and Nunegundlapalli in Chittoor district for “flouting norms.”
In its orders on Friday, the APPCB charged the company with polluting ambient air, which resulted in the presence of high levels of lead in the blood of almost all its employees and people of the surrounding villages, discharging untreated waste water into the drains and untreated sewage into the storm water drains, and causing soil pollution.
The APPCB stated in its notices that if the polluting units continued to be operated even after the receipt of its orders, punitive action would be taken against the company under the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
The AP Southern Power Distribution Company Limited was directed to cut power supply to the two units.