In order to check pollution in Ghaggar river near Sardulgarh, Mansa deputy commissioner Amit Dhaka had written to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to look into the factors behind this contamination.
The pollution in Ghaggar had remained an environmental issue in Sardulgarh constituency during the assembly polls in 2012. The water has turned black, posing a health hazard to residents.
Unpleasant odour emanating from the river has residents of Sardulgarh and nearby villages worried. Villagers are suffering from ailments, including cancer and skin diseases. Sarpanches form several villages had met prominent leaders over the issue. Congress MLA from Sardulgarh, Ajit Inder Singh Mofar had also raised the issue of pollution in Ghaggar in the assembly.
The discharge of effluents into the river in Ratia district of Haryana by some soap manufacturing units and other industries without treating industrial waste had polluted Ghaggar. The river enters into Sardulgarh constituency of Punjab's Mansa district from Haryana.
The chief minister, during his visit to a mega medical camp at Mansa, had said river cleaning projects will be started in the state soon. Though the reverse osmosis systems have been installed at villages, only a few villagers purchase water and majority rely on ground water or prefer to fetch water from waterworks to meet their daily requirement.
More than 40% groundwater had been declared unfit for drinking and irrigation. The ground water contains high content of fluoride, arsenic, residual sodium carbonate (RSC) and shows high electrical conductivity (EC) in villages of the constituency.
Speaking to HT, a resident of Sardulgarh village, Gurditta Singh, said Ghaggar is polluted and unpleasant smell emanates from it. "Cancer and skin diseases are a commonplace in the village. The groundwater is also polluted and sometimes hand pumps give poor quality of water," he added.
Stating that he had written to the PPCB to check the cause of pollution and give the report, the Mansa deputy commissioner said, "Ghaggar in Sardulgarh had turned black in colour and the Sardulgarh sub-divisional magistrate had also raised the issue in a meeting. For the past few weeks, pollution in the river has increased."
Mansa civil surgeon Dr Baldev Singh Sahota said, "We had taken nine samples from the river and the reports are yet to come. We have started creating awareness regarding pollution among residents. It had also been brought to the notice of higher authorities."