The Punjab government informed the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday that out of the total 13 sewage treatment plants (STPs), six have been commissioned by the side of 225-km Lasara drain and in case of rest of the projects, the work was underway.
The information was submitted by JM Balamurugan, secretary of local government department, during the resumed hearing of a case based on a news item published in an English daily last year, highlighting that the Lasara drain passing through Bathinda had become a carrier of effluents from factories and toxic water into cultivated fields.
The news item had mentioned that the drain, which originates from Dhamot in Ludhiana, covered around 225 km, passing through Sangrur and Barnala districts before reaching the cancer-hit Bathinda district.
Balamurugan informed the court that STPs in Bathinda, Rampura Phul, Kotfatta, Bhucho Mandi and Talwandi Sabo had been commissioned. However, STPs at Tappa, Maur, Malerkotla, Raman Mandi, Dhanaula, Khanna and Barnala are under execution process.
The high court had in July directed the Punjab government to take up the task of establishing STPs on priority. Amicus curiae (advocate appointed to assist court) Sukhjinder Singh Behl had informed the court that there were more than 6,000 cases of cancer in the Malwa belt alone. He had also submitted that people were also suffering from skin diseases as well as asthma due to non-availability of potable water.
The high court had posted the case for next hearing on February 21 for monitoring of the status report about the progress of commissioning of rest of the STPs.