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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

Dera Bassi common effluent treatment plant project hits dead end

Punjab Pollution Control Board executive engineer Ashok Sharma confirmed the project has been shelved.

cities Updated: Nov 18, 2019 00:59 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor, Dera Bassi
The project was conceived to facilitate scientific disposal of hazardous waste generated at the Dera Bassi Focal Point, an industrial hub. The treated water was to be used for irrigation in nearby villages.
The project was conceived to facilitate scientific disposal of hazardous waste generated at the Dera Bassi Focal Point, an industrial hub. The treated water was to be used for irrigation in nearby villages. (HT FILE)
         

Five years after the foundation stone was laid for setting up a common effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Saidpura village in Dera Bassi, the project has hit a dead end.

Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) executive engineer Ashok Sharma confirmed the project has been shelved.

“Seven major industrial units that were involved in the project have either shut down or moved out. In a meeting held recently, the remaining members said the project is not viable,” he said.

The project was conceived to facilitate scientific disposal of hazardous waste generated at the Dera Bassi Focal Point, an industrial hub. The treated water was to be used for irrigation in nearby villages.

In 2011, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed on behalf of 12 villages, including Bhankerpur, Issapur, Pragpur, Bakerpur, Ibrahampur, Dhanounani and Bhora villages, in the Punjab and Haryana high court, alleging chemically polluted water discharge from factories is flowing into nearby drains, thus polluting the groundwater and supply from tubewells. The petition was transferred to the National Green Tribunal in 2013.

To find a solution, the CETP project was mooted in 2014. In April 2016, the then PPCB chairman laid the foundation stone at Saidpura village. Spread over 4 acres, the plant was to be set up at a cost of ₹80 crore. It was to be completed by March 2018.

The Dera Bassi municipal council had leased out the land for the project, which was being executed by Mohali Green Environment Private Limited. But, on the ground, only one office is present there.

Karnail Singh of Issapur village, who had moved the PIL, said: “The sad part is that our state government is completely silent on the issue. Even now discharge from factories is flowing into nearby drains and polluting the groundwater.”

57 UNITS SHUT LAST YEAR

Taking strict note of blatant violation of environmental laws, the NGT had ordered closure of 57 industrial units in Dera Bassi last October.

According to the order, four major industrial units were found flouting groundwater standards and discharging untreated affluents.

“Immediate drastic measures need to be taken, keeping in view the severity of environment degradation, which must have taken place in the area, and damage caused to the human health, flora and fauna and that too for last so many years,” the NGT’s principal bench had ruled.