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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Punjab pollution control board clueless on Navjot Sidhu’s ‘lofty announcements’ on its behalf

Punjab local bodies minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu had said Rs 130 crore will be provided by the board for effluent treatment plants.

punjab Updated: Sep 10, 2017 17:06 IST
Harsimran Singh Batra
Harsimran Singh Batra
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) machinery gathering dust at the plant site on Tajpur Road in Ludhiana.
Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) machinery gathering dust at the plant site on Tajpur Road in Ludhiana.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

The lofty claims by Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu of providing Rs 130 crore for establishing Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) for dying industry seems to be a ‘shot in the dark’ with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), which was to fund the project as per Sidhu, denying any such information. This has left the industrialists shocked and disappointed as they feel cheated especially since the project has been already moving at a snail’s pace for the last eight years.

On September 6, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu announced Rs 130 crore for establishing CETPs for dying industry in the city and had said that the funding will be provided by the PPCB.

PPCB member secretary Babu Ram who was in the city on Saturday, denied any such development and said that he is not aware of any such plans of the government. “I am not aware of any such decision. I am a ‘small employee’ and thus I cannot say what the ministers claimed. They must be aware of the facts,” he said.

Babu Ram was in the city to discuss the CETP project with members of Punjab Dyers association.

Meanwhile, members of Punjab Dyers Associations claimed that they feel cheated as the officials had asked the industrialists to try and gather the funds on their own. They said that when they asked Babu Ram about the Rs 130 crore announced by Sidhu on September 6 in Ludhiana, he told them that someone has misguided the industrialists or there might be some miscommunication.

Besides Rs 130 crore for CETP’s, Sidhu had also announced other development works worth over Rs 3,438 crore to be executed in the next five years of Congress regime.

Punjab Dyers association general secretary Bobby Jindal alleged that when he showed news cuttings to Babu Ram, he said that newspapers might have published some wrong information. Jindal said that they are struggling for the establishment of two CETPs (for Tajpur road and focal point area) for over eight years. The industry has already invested over Rs 30 crore but they are waiting for the state government’s instalment of ₹15 crore for over a year and a half.

Jindal said that it is only due to the failure of the state government in providing funds that they are unable to get the central government’s grant. Rather than providing funds for the establishment of CETPs, Babu Ram asked the industrialists to try and gather funds on their own and also said that the PPCB will start inspection of ETPs installed at factories.

Jindal said that the problem of Buddha Nullah, which is polluting Sutlej river and affecting lives in Rajasthan also, will be resolved after the establishment CETPs. But the authorities and the state government are turning a blind eye towards the situation.

Members of Punjab Dyers Association questioned as to how it is possible that PPCB, which is the main authority working on the project, is not aware of the future plans of the project. The authorities are cheating the industrialists by making alleged tall but hollow claims.

First Published: Sep 10, 2017 17:01 IST