Cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu addressing the gathering during an interactive session at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan in Ludhiana on Tuesday.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu addressing the gathering during an interactive session at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan in Ludhiana on Tuesday.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

650-crore Buddha Nullah rejuvenation project set to commence in a month: Ashu

Out of the total Rs 650 crore allotted for the project, Rs 519 crore will be spent on infrastructure development and the remaining amount will be utilised for beautification and other purposes.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Ludhiana, Ludhiana
UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2020 11:29 PM IST

The local bodies department is expected to start the Rs 650-crore rejuvenation project for the polluted Buddha Nullah in Ludhiana next month, said cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and department’s principal secretary AK Sinha.

They were speaking during an interactive session held at the Guru Nanak Dev Stadium on Tuesday to clear the doubts of stakeholders, including industrialists, NGO members, and residents regarding the project.

Out of the total Rs 650 crore allotted for the project, Rs 519 crore will be spent on infrastructure development and the remaining amount will be utilised for beautification and other purposes.

With a deadline of two years, the project will focus on upgrading and establishing new sewage treatment plants (STPs). The proposal regarding the shifting of dairy units has been kept on hold.

Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company’s CEO Ajoy Sharma gave a detailed presentation of the project.

He said domestic sewage, industrial effluent, solid waste and dairy waste were prime sources of pollution in the nullah and the department had taken care of every aspect under this project, which had been planned considering the needs of the residents.

Against the existing capacity of 418 megalitres per day (MLD) (excluding the 48 MLD Jamalpur STP, which is lying defunct), the department will increase the capacity to 703 MLD by upgrading the existing STPs and establishing two STPs at Jamapur and Balloke.

While new STPs with 285 MLD capacity will be established at the cost of Rs 375 crore, Rs 29.5 crore will be spent on establishing an effluent treatment plant for dealing with 6 MLD dairy waste, Rs 49 crore will be spent on upgrading the existing STPs and Rs 65.5 crore will be spent on establishing pumping stations in different parts of the city.

As per the information shared by officials, 625 MLD sewage is dumped into the nullah on a daily basis.

Besides, there are 16 points from where sewage is getting into the nullah without any treatment.

The National Green Tribunal has set March 2021 as the deadline for the municipal corporation to plug the points otherwise a monthly penalty of Rs 10 lakh for every point will be imposed.

Industrialists, local bodies dept lock horns over budget

The interactive session turned stormy after the officials of the local bodies department and representatives of industrial bodies had a disagreement over the budget of the project.

President of Bahadurke Road Textile and Knitwear Association, Tarun Jain Bawa claimed that the work for establishing new sewage treatment plants (STP), upgrading existing STPs and installation of effluent treatment plants (ETPs) for dealing with dairy waste can be completed by them at a cost of Rs 325 crore, instead of spending Rs 519 crore.

In response, officials of the local bodies department, including principal secretary AK Sinha and secretary Ajoy Sharma, and Ashu questioned the association on why no bids for the project were submitted by them when the tenders were floated.

Ashu also expressed annoyance when industrial representatives raised questions over the bypassing of rainwater mixed with sewage into the nullah during monsoon season, and concluded the session.

The industrialists had stated that in the absence of storm sewers, the STPs got overloaded in monsoon, with rainwater getting into sewer lines. As such, they should also be allowed to bypass the waste into the nullah.

”A section of industry is responsible for the pollution. Rather than taking a sarcastic dig , the industry should work with the department to deal with pollution,” the minister said.

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