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Tanneries, STPs continue to release polluted water in drains

The NGT had recently ordered the closure of 19 tanneries for discharging pollutants, including heavy metals, into drains in Jalandhar and the matter is pending before the Punjab and Haryana high court. 

punjab Updated: Jan 21, 2018 12:44 IST
Jatinder Mahal
Jatinder Mahal
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Jalandhar,Tanneries,National Green Tribunal
The water treatment plant at leather complex in Jalandhar.(Pardeep Pandit/HT)

Even after strict steps taken by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the discharge of pollutants, including heavy metals, continues unabated into the drains.

Due to the administration’s lackadaisical attitude, the leather tanning factories at the Focal Point and the sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the district are discharging untreated water in the Kala Sanghia drain, which is considered the most polluted drain in the Doaba region.

The NGT had recently ordered the closure of 19 tanneries for discharging pollutants, including heavy metals, into drains in Jalandhar and the matter is pending before the Punjab and Haryana high court.

Sources in the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) said that the STP of 50 MLD capacity in the Leather Complex is not capable of treating water as pollutants in water are increasing rapidly.

Officials said that the STP daily receives water with 750 MG chemical oxygen demand (COD) and 350 MG biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) that is double to what the STP is capable of treating.

Similarly, Pholriwal STP in Jalandhar, Kapurthala STP and 5MLD common effluent treatment plant (CETP) running in the leather complex are also failing to serve the purpose properly and releasing polluted water into the drains.

GS Majithia, PPCB chief environmental engineer, admitted that the STP in the Leather Complex is not running properly and releasing untreated water.

“The PPCB has already filed a case against the sewerage board and planning to file another one against the municipal corporation as despite, their repeated warnings, they have failed to run the STP properly,” he said.

Meanwhile, 15 employees at the Leather Complex STP have also not got theri salary for the past three months.

A decade-old issue of pollution

Padma Shri awardee Balbir Singh Seechewal said that all officials, including local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, are aware of the non-functional STPs in the Doaba region, but they have not taken any steps to remedy the situation.

“Water is getting polluted and many innocent people have died in nearby villages due to water-borne diseases,” Seechewal said.

The 45km Kala Sanghia drain begins from Bulanpur village to Malaysian village before merging into the Sutlej river. The PPCB had declared it ‘E’ class polluted water two years ago.Over 100 villages situated on the side of the drain are the most affected by cancer across Doaba. Also 18 deaths were reported due to cancer from Jahangir village in the region and residents of the village blame this drain water.

The Seechewal, along with locals, had also staged a protest and stopped the water flow in the drain on February 2008 due to increasing water pollution. Even thousands of people from Rajasthan, led by political leaders, also held protests in May 2011 against the flow of dirty water in the drain.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 12:34 IST