Even as several persons have lost their lives in boiler explosions in different industrial units in Ludhiana, the industries department as well as Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) have failed to check these boilers.
The boilers not only pose a risk to lives of factory workers but also are a threat to environment. The smoke emanating from burning of husk, used for combustion in most boilers, causes environmental degradation, which has to be checked by the pollution control board on regular intervals.
Reports suggest that a large number of boilers are also operational in the old city area where many hosiery and dyeing units are located. In case of explosion of a boiler in these areas, a large number of causalities can take place.
Boilers are mostly used in dyeing, casting, furnace and steel industry. The industries department is not having the exact record of the number of boilers operational in Ludhiana, as most of these are being used illegally.
Knitwear and Textile Club president Vinod Thapar said a boiler is installed in every dyeing unit. “Incidents occur where proper upkeep of these boilers is not done. The boilers running on electricity and diesel are mostly safe,” said Thapar.
ONLY ONE DIRECTOR OF BOILERS IN PUNJAB
Despite running in knowledge of the authorities, illegal boilers have never attracted any action from either the PPCB or the industries department.
For the entire state, only one director of boilers under the department of industries is present to look after these heating machines. The director is responsible for issuing permission for the use of boilers to different industries.
Industry representatives have many a times urged the government that the general manager of District Industries Centre (DIC) of Ludhiana should be given the power to check boilers.
It is the responsibility of the unit owner to get the boilers register with the industries department.
Satbir Singh, director (boilers), said that there are 450 registered boilers in Ludhiana district. “There has been no boiler blast for the past four years and the blasts reported from time to time are the ones not in boilers but in other equipment of the unit.”
He said the annual inspection of boilers is held by a team of five to six officials of the department.
NO CHECK ON POLLUTION
Even the PPCB has taken no action against the boilers being operated in violation of the guidelines prescribed for the emission level of husk.
Board’s chief environmental engineer Gulshan Rai said there was no precise data of boilers operational in Ludhiana.
“Norms have been set on combustion level by the PPCB, under which inspections of boilers are held. In case anomalies are found, a notification for upgrading the boiler is issued to the unit,” said Rai.