Chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray told the owners of chemical firms in Dombivli Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to follow safety norms or shut the units. He made the comment on Thursday after visiting a road in the area that turned pink due to chemical effluents.

“I have asked officials to categorise dangerous and extremely dangerous factories in the area. We will take action against them in three stages,” said Thackeray.

Explaining further, the CM said, “First, the owners will be given a chance to follow the safety norms or shut the units. Then, old drains and pipelines will be repaired at the earliest. And in the final stage, chemical units located extremely close to residential zones will be shifted.”

The CM has given the authorities 15-days’ time to come up with a plan on when and where the units can be shifted.

Thackeray, who was visiting Thane on Thursday, decided to visit Dombivli following outcry by residents complaining of roads turning red due to pollutants.

According to locals, though the colour of the roads had changed two days ago, it was only hours before the CM’s visit that authorities cleaned the roads. However, even after cleaning, the roads remained pink in colour.

Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) member secretary E Ravendiran, who visited the spot ahead of the CM’s visit, said, “MPCB will increase vigilance and conduct audits on pollution control mechanism and will take action as per law”

MIDC officials claimed the silt removed from drain lines had led to the change in colour. “The authority has taken up the work of building proper drain line in MIDC after almost 30 years. The silt removed during the work turned the road red. We have explained this to the CM,” said Dipak Patil, deputy engineer, MIDC, Dombivli.