A distillery owned by the Chadha Group at Hoshiapur has landed in trouble with the deputy commissioner indicting the firm for large-scale water and soil pollution and demanding a strict action against it.
The Chadha Group belongs to the late liquor baron Ponty Chadha.
The company is running a molasses-based distillery, which is a division of AB Sugar Mills at Dasuya, with a total capacity of almost 60 kilolitres per day.
The company makes almost 3.3 millon cases of Indian Made Foreign Liquor at its bottling plant. A full-fledged inquiry has found that the liquor company is blatantly violating the laid pollution norms.
During the inquiry, commissioned by Hoshiapur DC Anindita Mitra, it was found that water samples of 22 villages near the distillery were heavily polluted.
Mitra has sent the probe report to Secretary Science and Technology, Punjab, who also controls the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), demanding a stern action against the liquor firm.
“The unit was directed by the PPCB to install a multiple effect evaporator (MEE) plant to control air and water pollution. However, the management installed reverse osmosis (RO) treatment plant instead of MEE to save money,” said the DC.
“After receiving many complaints, I asked PPCB officials and even deputed some of my officials to assess the ground situation and take feedback from villagers. A probe was ordered after a through probe established that the company was blatantly violating pollution norms,” said the DC while talking to HT.
A delegation of Hoshiarpur residents have also taken up the matter with PPCB chairman Manpreet Singh Chatwal. “Our groundwater has been polluted up to 200 feet. The total dissolved solids (TDS)-level is at an alarming level, causing serious diseases to residents of areas nearby the distillery,” says Dalwinder Singh Bodal, convener of a committee of 22 villages that are reeling under pollution.
“Our lives have become hell due to this distillery. Foul smell has engulfed the entire area,” Ajit Singh Randhawa, said a Sangarsh Committee member.
Despite several attempts, G Vajralingam, principal secretary, Science and Technology, could not be contacted for comments.