High Court Urges Relocation of Dairies Near Landfills for Public Health Safety

The Delhi High Court recently directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to evaluate relocating dairies near Ghazipur and Bhalaswa landfill sites, citing significant public health risks. In the case of Sunayana Sibal & Ors v Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors, a Division Bench, led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, expressed skepticism towards the government’s claim that these dairies pose no threat to public health.

The Court emphasized concerns about the potential harm caused by milk produced in these dairies and questioned the feasibility of preventing cattle from consuming hazardous waste at the landfill sites until their estimated clearance by 2025-26.

In its May 8 order, the Court mandated that existing dairies in Delhi adhere to municipal and other regulations, requiring licenses from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the Delhi government’s Animal Husbandry department, No Objection Certificates from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), and licenses from the Food Safety Authority.

Additionally, the Court directed the installation of bio-gas plants near all nine authorized dairies in Delhi to produce dry manure and biogas fuel or Compressed Biogas (CBG) before the onset of the monsoon. These directives were issued during the hearing of a PIL filed by animal rights activist Sunayana Sibal, advocating for the relocation of Delhi’s dairy colonies and ensuring their compliance with the law.

During the hearing, the High Court criticized the Delhi government and other authorities for their failure to regulate the dairy industry in the capital, emphasizing that citizens should not be subjected to consuming unhygienic milk. Consequently, the Bench ordered the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Department of Food Safety, Delhi government to intensify testing and conduct random sample checks of milk and milk products, including sweets, from the areas where milk is supplied.

Additionally, the Court instructed the Commissioner of Police to submit a detailed affidavit outlining efforts to track the sources of spurious oxytocin/hormones and their production, packaging, and distribution, as per complaints lodged with the police and the Court’s previous order dated May 1, 2024.

The Court mandated the MCD to clear all encroachments from the Ghogha dairy and ensure that the number of cattle housed there adheres to regulations. Additionally, it instructed for the Madanpur Khadar Dairy Colony to be brought into compliance with existing laws, outlining specific measures such as cattle mapping, tagging, banning of spurious hormones, and maintaining hygiene and medical care standards.

Furthermore, the Chief Secretary was directed to submit a detailed affidavit outlining the future roadmap for all nine dairy colonies by May 24, 2024, following a hearing with the petitioners. The case is scheduled for the next hearing on May 27.

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About the Author: Payal Singh