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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Sewage in choe : Court summons MC officials

Hillary Victor, Reuters  Chandigarh, September 30, 2013
First Published: 10:31 IST(30/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:38 IST(30/9/2013)

A district court in SAS Nagar has summoned top officials of the public health department of the Chandigarh municipal corporation for discharging untreated sewage into a natural rivulet (N-choe) at the tail end of Phase 11, SAS Nagar, and Sukhna Choe.

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It was after HT highlighted the issue several times that the Punjab Pollution Control Board filed a case in the court stating that the sewage sample collected from the N-choe failed to meet the treatment norms. The court has issued summons for October 7 to the officers including SS Bidda, Chandigarh MC chief engineer; RC Diwan, superintending engineer, public health department; Gurpreet Singh, executive engineer; and Jaspal Singh, sub-divisional engineer, for violating norms and releasing of raw sewage into the rivulet.

Officers of the PPCB had collected the samples in the presence of Chandigarh MC officials.

On August 9 this year, HT had highlighted that the pipeline that took sewage to the MC's treatment plant at Diggian in Phase 11 of SAS Nagar, on which the Chandigarh civic body had spent more than `35 crore, was damaged and had not been repaired  for months ago. Hence, sources said, the discharge into the rivulet instead.

Also, in May this year, violation of norms had been taken note of by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee. In a letter to MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh, the committee questioned the functioning of the sewage treatment plant (STP) located at Diggian village in SAS Nagar. The letter said the plant, with a capacity to treat 45 million gallons daily (MGD), was treating only 20 MGD sewage. It underlined that a large volume of untreated sewage was being let out into water outlets.

A source said the maintenance of the plant at Diggian was given to a private company which was being paid for treating 45 MGD but treating less than half of that.

Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga said the MC public health department had spent nearly `6 crore for repair and upkeep of treatment plants and other related works "but there is hardly any improvement."

When contacted, superintending engineer RC Diwan first said, "Sewage going into the Sukhna is from the plant at Raipur Khurd, which is under the jurisdiction of UT administration; the MC has nothing to do with it." Asked about the discharge into N-choe, he said, "We have plugged all entry points of raw sewage into the N-choe."

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