Submit new plans to revive Ulhas, Waldhuni, state tells civic bodies
In an effort to clean up the Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers, the state environment secretary has asked for new action plans to tackle the high levels of pollution in their waters. The rivers are a source of water for over 30 lakh people in the Thane-Badlapur area, but receive untreated household sewage and industrial waste.
During a meeting on Monday, principal secretary (environment) Anil Diggikar directed the municipal corporations of Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, Kalyan-Dombivli, Badlapur, and officials from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to revise and resubmit action plans for sewage treatment plants (STPs), drainage systems, and overall restoration of the rivers.
“All issues were discussed in detail and directions have been issued to complete the tendering process for new STPs by May 15,” said Diggikar.
The Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers will be inspected on April 30 by Diggikar, the municipal corporations, MIDC and the environment group Vanashakti, which has filed a petition about the pollution levels in the rivers. Fortnightly review meetings have also been planned.
In April, the Supreme Court had slammed the Maharashtra government for failing to reduce pollution levels in both rivers, and directed principal secretary (environment) Anil Diggikar to apprise the court on measures taken when the next hearing takes place on July 17.
Tenders have been called repeatedly to set up new STPs for Ulhasnagar and Kalyan-Dombivli, but there has been no progress, said Diggikar. Ulhasnagar municipal commissioner Achyut Hange said the civic body aimed to treat 75 million litres (mld) of sewage daily through four STPs.
“Six months ago, hardly 10% work was complete but now, three of the four STPs – two at Shantinagar and one at Kadalgaon – are 75% complete. We have sent our eighth tender request for the fourth STP, which should be accepted soon,” he said.
Kalyan-Dombivli civic chief Govind Bodke said, “We are currently treating 125 mld sewage for Ulhas passing through Kalyan-Dombivli, but our target is to treat 220 mld by December. We have six functioning STPs, two are under construction, and work for two more is underway.”
A senior MIDC official said industrial effluents have been kept in check. “Work is underway to place a 17.5km pipeline from Ambernath and another 7km pipeline from Dombivli to divert polluted water from creeks for treatment,” the official said.
HT had reported on April 21 that a water quality analysis conducted by the Thane district public health laboratory had revealed polluted stretches in the rivers from where water is pumped out for drinking.