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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Illegal mining goes unabated at CETP inaugurated by Sukhbir

Arjun Sharma, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, July 24, 2014
First Published: 21:28 IST(24/7/2014) | Last Updated: 21:30 IST(24/7/2014)

Despite illegal sand mining going on rampantly at the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) coming up at Tajpur Road, the department of industries and commerce has failed to take action.

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The CETP, which is being built by the Punjab Dyers Association (PDA), was inaugurated by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal more than four months ago. Interestingly, the project is an initiative of PDA managing director Ashok Makkar, who is associated with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The PDA initiated the project after collecting funds and getting 18 acres on Tajpur Road approved from the state government. A major part of the cost of the project - `150 crore - would be later provided by the central and state governments as subsidies.

The CETP will be able to treat 100 million litres daily (MLD) of the dyeing units effluents.

However, though the project has no permission from the industries department that is requisite in case such heavy digging has to take place at any site in Punjab, sand mining is going on unabated at the site.

Surprisingly, authorities concerned are sitting on their hands despite the Division Number 7 police arresting two persons and seizing two trolleys filled with sand excavated from the CETP site last week.

An FIR was also registered under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

However, no action against those allowing digging and mining has been initiated.

Mahesh Khanna, general manager, Ludhiana District Industries Centre, said the PDA did not have permission to carry out digging at the site, and therefore mining at the site was completely illegal.

According to sources, the PDA had approached the department of industries some days ago after which they were told that a no-objection certificate (NOC) was required from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).

"The agency building the CETP did not even have the NOC from the PPCB due to which it was not given mining permission from the industries department," said a senior official of the department, requesting anonymity.

Khanna said required documents from the PPCB had been submitted only on Thursday, more than four months after work initiated, with the industries department and had been forwarded to Chandigarh.

However, Makkar said he did not have knowledge about the required permissions for mining.

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