While the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has been making efforts to check release of untreated effluent by the city-based industrial units, the industry is surprisingly going all out to stop the exercise by building pressure on the board.
In its effort to check pollution, special PPCB teams from Patiala conducted a survey at 200 electroplating units on Wednesday, which invited flak from the industry that claimed the “raids” caused inconvenience and disruption of work at these units.
The teams visited various areas to check if water meters were installed in these factories. Surprisingly only about 25 units had installed these meters, which keep a check on the water usage, which is proportional to the effluents released. This raises eyebrows over the intentions of these units, when it comes to controlling pollution in Ludhiana.
As a result, the violators were served notices to install the same meters on their water supply line either through submersible pumps or directly from municipal corporation (MC).
Speaking about the checks, Gulshan Rai, chief environmental engineer, PPCB, said, “The board has formed a strategy in which we would first check the intake of water in a unit, then compare it with the effluent discharged. A discrepancy in figures would mean untreated effluent is being discharged in the open.”
The board plans to conduct similar survey in majority of the units that release effluent so that a data bank could be maintained and checked from time to time.
Rai, who himself was part of one of the teams that visited the units, said the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) that is managed by the Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society (LETS) at Focal point would also be surveyed so that the effluent released could be compared with the effluent brought to the plant for treatment.
Instead of looking into their shortcomings, industrial associations have come out heavily against the PPCB claiming that such “raids were uncalled for”.
United Cycle Parts and Manufacturing Association ( UCPMA) and Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) in a meeting on Wednesday evening stated that such type of policies of PPCB were “anti-industry”.
UCPMA members, including chairman Joginder Kumar, vicechair man Manmohan Singh Ubhi, president Charanjit Singh Vishivkar ma, CICU president Avtar Singh and general secretary Upkar Singh in a joint statement said, “Such unrealistic direction has caused great resentment and created panic in the entire electroplating industry.”
Vishivkarma said such policies being framed by the PPCB were anti-industry and one cannot hope that any new electroplating industry would ever come up in Punjab.
LETS that manages the CETP has already written letters to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal complaining regarding the earlier action of PPCB on some industrial units. LETS officebearers also plan to meet union minister for industry and commerce MM Mittal at Ludhiana on Friday to demand stopping of the surveys by the PPCB.
In response, an of ficial of PPCB, requesting anonymity, said while most of the industries in Ludhiana were in no mood to take measures to stop pollution, they would do everything to stop PPCB from cleaning the environment.