Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday sought the intervention and support of his Haryana and Himachal Pradesh counterparts Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Virbhadra Singh, respectively, for immediately taking steps to prevent the reckless discharge of untreated domestic waste water and industrial effluents into drains which ultimately join the Ghaggar river in Punjab's territory.
Presiding over a meeting of senior officers of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Badal monitored the situation and called upon the need to resolve the inter-state environmental issue.
Badal was told that the board had surveyed the Ghaggar along with the catchment area.
Starting from Nada Sahib gurdwara (Panchkula district) in Haryana, after which the river enters the territory of Punjab near Mubarakpur village, the colour of water in the river was found changing at the downstream of the confluence point of the Sukhna choe, which carries industrial effluents from the focal point of Panchkula area and meets the Ghaggar near Bhankherpur village in SAS Nagar district.
The CM was informed that further downstream, the industrial and domestic waste water of Ambala, Shahbad Markanda and many villages of Haryana, located in the catchment area of the Ghaggar, was discharged into the river directly or through storm-water drains. Waste water from Pehowa and Kurukshetra towns, besides industrial effluents of paper and cardboard mills of Kaithal district, entered Punjab's territory and meets the Ghaggar near Rasauli village in Patran tehsil of Patiala district.
In addition, the waste water of Jakhal and Ratia in Haryana is also discharged into the Ghaggar. In the Sukhna choe, untreated and partially treated effluents of the municipal corporations of Chandigarh and Panchkula are directly discharged indirectly into the river near Bhankerpur village.
Badal was also informed that the domestic sewage of towns such as Nahan, Parwanoo and Kala Amb in Himachal Pradesh was discharged into the Ghaggar.
Summing up the discussions, the CM asked the PPCB chairman to coordinate with his counterparts in the pollution wing of Chandigarh, and the pollution control boards of Haryana and Himacal Pradesh for a joint sampling to be carried out from the inter-state points to know the actual pollution load at these points so that effective measures could be taken up to combat this problem at the earliest.
Badal also said he would soon take up this matter with governor Shivraj V Patil, who is also the UT administrator.
The CM said the state government had already carried out the cleaning of Sutlej, Beas and Ghaggar rivers at a cost of Rs 2,332 crore and the entire project would prove to be a futile exercise if uncontrolled discharge of municipal and industrial effluents was not stopped.