The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has suspended import permits of ten global tech majors after they failed to comply with e-waste management norms. Reports suggest that premium smartphones and electronic raw materials worth around Rs 5,000 crore belonging to companies including Apple, Samsung, Vivo, HP and Motorola are being held up at the customs department. The suspension of import permits threatens to affect the sales figures of these for April-June quarter.
The imports permits were suspended for violating Extended Producer Responsibility clauses for e-waste management. The companies are in talks with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to find a way out, The Economic Times reported. The companies have agreed that compliance with the EPR norms is an issue and the CPCB is looking into ways to resolve the issue.
On the other hand, the companies have claimed that suspending import permits is uncalled for and financial penalties would have sufficed. As per the report, the affected tech players claimed that the punishment does not fit the crime because they have exceeded their target for e-waste collection even though they may have failed to follow minor aspects of the EPR.
The companies said they have defaulted only on clauses like failing to seek prior approval for closing down an e-waste collection centre and opening a new one, and not carrying out awareness programmes at their centres, including putting up posters to sensitise about e-waste management. However, government authorities maintain that the violations are not as minor as the companies are portraying them to be, the daily reported.
In one such instance of non-compliance, the Kerala Pollution Control Board found that operators at the collection centre of a tech company were not aware that the centre has been designated as the authorised collection point under the EPR plan. As a result, the centre had not collected or transferred any e-waste for recycling.
The CPCB had rolled out Extended Producers Responsibility rules through a notification on April 4 to ensure that tech companies are accountable for the e-waste from their products.
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