Industry giant Hero Cycles Limited has been found allegedly violating environmental norms by disposing of around 11 lakh litres of effluent-ridden water every day into the sewage system that eventually meets the Buddha Nullah, resulting in severe pollution in the stream and beyond.
A team of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) raided the premises of Hero Cycles on GT Road around 10.30pm on Tuesday, and saw the system wherein pipes were installed allowing untreated water into the sewerage.
Raids were also conducted on the premises of Avon Ispat and Ralson India Limited, though no violations were later reported at those units.
A notice was issued to the Hero unit under section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. This is the first time that such a notice has been issued to Hero Cycles, and the company has 15 days to reply.
PPCB executive engineer AK Sharma, who led the team that also comprised two sub-divisional officers, said he was “astonished” to see the system.
“As per estimates, the volume of untreated water could go up to 11 lakh litres daily,” he said, “And this is the case at only one unit of Ludhiana. Imagine the volume of effluents being released without being treated from other units.”
When contacted, SK Rai, director of Hero Cycles, said the PPCB had given the unit directions for improvements in its effluent disposal system a few days ago; but he expressed his ignorance over the notice.
“Inspections are a routine affair, but I am not aware of any such raid,” he told HT. Sources said Hero Cycles was already holding a study through consultants on effluent release.
The Buddha Nullah, which receives the effluents, further meets the river Sutlej. The river’s water is collected in the Harike lake for irrigation of fields in southern Punjab and Rajasthan.
In fact, Rajasthan has repeatedly complained to the Punjab government about the deteriorating quality of water at the lake.