A day after environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) authorities found untreated water being released from the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in Kala Sanghian drain, the PPCB on Wednesday ordered closure of all industrial units of the leather complex for 15 days with the instructions to maintain required toxic level.
The CETP is being maintained by Punjab Effluents Treatment Society (PETS), a special vehicle formed for the purpose.
PPCB chairman Ravinder Singh, who was in the city on Wednesday, earlier visited the CETP along with the PPCB officials and later held a meeting with the PETS management at the local PPCB office.
Talking to HT, supervisor engineer of the PPCB SP Garg said that during inspection sulphide contents were found in the sullage at 2,000 points which was much higher than expected. “It is alarming and needs to be lowered down.
The PETS had earlier informed us that they were shutting down the CETP for increasing the treatment capacity from 5mld to 6mld but they failed to maintain the required toxic level and whole functioning of the treatment plant was disturbed,” Garg said.
The PPCB also reportedly found a pipeline laid by the CETP to allow the untreated water drained in the storm drainage. Currently, there are 54 units in the industrial complex and the units had been contributing Rs. 30-Rs 35 lakh for the maintenance of 5mld treatment plant on monthly basis. The CETP is being maintained by Ramky Infrastructure Limited.
“The units were found bypassing the CETP through big pipes and then discharging the effluents into the drain. The company failed to stabilise the CETP even after enhancing its capacity from 5mld to 6mld. The company was to complete the augmentation of the plant on December 10 as per the contract, but missed the deadline,” Garg said.
“We have issued closure notices to all industries for 15 days from Saturday (December 14) onwards. If any of the unit is found operational, we will initiate legal proceedings against the unit along with recommendation of disconnecting their power connections,” he said.
Calling the action unjustified, president of Punjab Leather Federation Lt Col JS Paul said: “What is our fault? Every industry is paying monthly maintenance charges to the CETP. It is the duty of the CETP to maintain the required standards.
If they had failed, they should be prosecuted. It is beyond imagination why they were bypassing the untreated water in the storm drain. Why the other industrialists are being penalised for their actions,” Paul said.