Pollution spewing Sangrur unit’s power snapped

A departmental investigation found carbon on walls and air pollution above principles in the area surrounding the industrial unit: Harjit Singh, PPCB executive engineer, Sangrur
Students wearing masks in the school(HT Photo)
Students wearing masks in the school(HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 12, 2019 12:50 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Avtar Singh

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has snapped power connection to Goodluck Carbon Private Limited, an industrial unit sharing its wall with Government Senior Secondary School, Jitwal Kalan, for causing air pollution. The two buildings are 46km from district headquarters in Ahmedgarh subdivision.

PSPCL took the action on October 7, on directions from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), which said that the unit was causing ‘pollution above principles’. PSPCL superintending engineer for Barnala division, Gafoor Mohammed, under whose jurisdiction the area falls confirmed the development.

In its edition dated August 11 this year, HT had highlighted that pollution from the industrial unit had led to deposition of black soot on the walls, trees and floor of the school. The unit has been functioning since the 1980s and was impinging on the health of over 200 students and 12 teachers. Students and teachers were forced to wear masks to survive.

Sangrur PPCB executive engineer Harjit Singh said, “A departmental investigation found carbon on walls and air pollution above principles in the area surrounding the industrial unit. Electricity connection of the factory has been disconnected till further orders.”

On August 16, a team from the PPCB’s Environment Protection Squad (EPS) that executive engineer SS Matharoo led raided Goodluck Carbon. The team also inspected the school and farms in surrounding villages of Jitwal Kalan in the presence of 25 locals and employees of the industrial unit. “After the EPS team’s report, representatives of the industrial unit were called for hearings at the PPCB office, Patiala. An air-testing machine was also installed for one week to monitor pollution last month,” added Singh.

Pawan Kumar, the representative of the company, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. He, however, is reported to have submitted a statement in the court of the SDM that their power supply had been disconnected.

Can’t stand in school for 10 minutes: Then SDM in Feb 2018

On February 12, 2018, the then Ahmedgarh SDM Preeti Yadav inspected the school. “One cannot stand in the premises of the school for more than 10 minutes. The whole campus is covered by black residue from the factory. The air also contains suspended black particles and smells foul,” she wrote in her report.

Later the same year, a case was lodged against Goodluck Carbon under Section 133 (removal of public nuisance) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in the court of the SDM, Vikramjeet Singh Panthey. He also wrote to the Central Pollution Control Board to look into the matter.

“I issued notices to the PPCB and the CPCB to take strict action as the unit was getting conditional consent from time to time, even as the locals continued but the locals were suffering from pollution. Now the factory had been closed and the case was also closed on Thursday as people were satisfied,” said SDM Panthey.

“It is welcome step. We hope that the PPCB will ensure healthy environment for locals and students,” said Dr AS Mann, a member of Naroa Punjab Manch, the NGO which had sought action against the unit.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021