Two days after Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal sought intervention of UT administrator Shivraj Patil to check discharge of sewage through Sukhna Choe, and natural choe in Manimarja, into Ghaggar, HT during a visit to various exit points found that the sewage was flowing with full pressure, causing pollution in the river.
The authorities concerned have completely failed to plug these points, creating a major health hazard for residents living along the choe and villages situated along the bank of the river. Sukhna Choe that starts from Kishangarh village — and passes through Bhapu Dham, industrial area Phase 1 and 2, and Raipur Khurd— and merge with natural choe at Raipur Kalan before reaching Baltana in SAS Nagar, is a major source of pollution because of the unlimited flow of sewage from these areas. The problem has been persisting for past several years, but neither the UT administration nor the municipal corporation (MC) has taken concrete steps to stop these points.
Another natural choe that originates from Sector 3 in Chandigarh and passes through Sectors 10, 16, 23, 36, 42, 52 and enters SAS Nagar through Phases 8, 9, 10 and 11, Sectors 66 and 67 as well as in Chilla and Manauli villages before finally entering into Ghaggar is also another major source of pollution in the river. Also, the raw sewer effluent that is supposed to reach the sewage treatment plant in Diggian village in Phase 11— which has the capacity of treating 45 million gallons per day (MGD)— is currently treating only 20 MGD.
When contacted, MC chief engineer Mukesh Anand admitted that there was unlimited flow of sewage near Colony Number 4. He added, “The Chandigarh administration has already given in-principle approval for sanctioning funds worth `2.5 crore to plug the points causing pollution in Ghaggar. Estimates are being prepared to plug the points in the entire city and hopefully, we will be floating tenders this month.”