For crude maintenance of its green belt, the administration of Guru Gobind Singh oil refinery at Rama Mandi will have to pay a cost. It will have to furnish Rs 10-lakh bank guarantee with the Punjab pollution control board (PPCB) until the duty is done. However, there is no pressure of a deadline for nurturing the trees.
Commissioned on April 28 officially at the hands of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the refinery must have a 200-metre-radius green belt. However, in five years of the project's construction, the unit's administration ignored its duty to the environment.
A few months ago, the PPCB inspectors had found a large portion of the proposed green belt withered because of the shortage of water. The refinery has an irrigation network off campus to guide treated water to fields nearby, but its own plants have dried out.
"We have written to the refinery officials to deposit Rs 10 lakh as bank security until they develop a green belt as laid in the plan," Ashok Kalasi, superintending engineer in the PPCB, stated here on Friday. "The green belt will absorb every kind of pollution, curb noise, and clean the air."
Rs 10 lakh was a small amount for a venture worth Rs 2.200 crore, said the board official. It will be interesting to see in how much time the refinery is able to restore the green space and get its security money back. "We have fixed no deadline for the return of money," said Kalsi. A deadline would have put extra pressure on the refinery officials to comply.
Earlier, the PPCB had forbidden the refinery stretching its irrigation network to the Lasara drain, even as the unit's administration had sought the permission repeatedly. The drain carries all the polluted water from the region's industrial houses. The oil refinery is the biggest industrial house in the Malwa region. Talwandi Sabo, where it is situated, is a cancer-affected region.