The need to ensure proper treatment of effluents from units set up at the Leather Complex on the Kapurthala Road seems to have finally come on the radar of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and a Rs 25 crore new effluent treatment plant (ETP) is likely to be commissioned within a month or so.
In the regard, PPCB chairman Manpreet Chatwal met Jalandhar DC Kamal Kishore Yadav on Saturday. At the meeting, methods and productions to improve the production capacity of the units was also discussed.
At the meeting, he handling of sludge being produced by the units was also discussed. At the meeting, PPCB officials said a concrete plan would be put in place soon to deal with the sludge, besides the effluent-carrying water.
"We have asked for a comprehensive survey report of the area and on the units, and how can these factories be restored to their production target without comprising on environment quality. The survey will be carried out by Grant Thompson Consultants and a report will be submitted in 15 days. After receiving the report, work will commence on building a new ETP of 5 MLD capacity. This will cost around Rs 25 crore. We have also asked the consultant to meet the industrialists," said Chatwal.
The new ETP will be completed over a two years at a cost of Rs 25 crore. Of this, 50% of the cost will come as grant from the Central government, 35% will be borne by the industrialist and 15% will be given by the state government.
There are 59 operational leather processing units at the complex and all are suffering heavy losses as their production has been cut to 50% in absence of proper mechanism to handle the waste being generated from the units.
The complex had a 1.5 million litre discharge (MLD) effluent treatment plant (ETP) and this has been defunct for a long time. Later the Punjab Effluent Treatment Society (PETS) installed a new 5 MLD plant, after complaints of water pollution started pouring in from the neighboring areas.
However, this also failed to sort out the problem as the total discharge from the units was around 9 MLD and the ETP was only able to process 5 MLD of polluted water being generated by the units.
So, taking this into account, the PPCB along with the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) decided to cut the production of all units by half, leading to losses to industrialists operating the units.
Finally, after the intervention of PSIEC managing director Amit Dhaka and PPCB, a new plan was chalked out to handle the effluents and restore the full production capacity of the units.