M A I N   N E W S

Fly ash flows into Sutlej; third incident in two years
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ghauli (Ropar), September 5
The leakage of contaminated water from the stage-1 dyke of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar, has been polluting the Sutlej for the past two days posing a threat to environment in the region. A large amount of fly ash from the 12-feet-deep dyke has been flowing into the Sutlej in the international wetland area through the Ghauli drain, since Friday night.

Senior officials of the PSEB, along with 40 labourers, have been working at the site to control the situation since yesterday. They have put hundreds of bags of sand to control the leakage but high percentage of water in the ash dumping ground is hampering the efforts to plug the leakage.

Sources said the potable water in many areas, which get water from the Sutlej, was likely to be contaminated and water pollution also posed a threat to fish population.

The PSEB officials claimed that they had detected the leakage in time and it was likely to be controlled tomorrow. Despite, a High Court notice and Pollution Board’s instructions to the GGSSTP, it was the third incident in the past two years when the contaminated water from the ash dumping ground had flowed into the Sutlej. Last year on October 7, thousands of tonnes of fly ash had flowed into the river following a breach in the stage-1 dyke.

Earlier on January 22, 2002, a major breach had occurred in the Stage-2 dyke. A magisterial inquiry conducted into the breach had blamed the GGSSTP authorities for poor construction and upkeep of the dyke. Instructions had been issued to the plant authorities to improve the upkeep of dykes.

Sources said hundreds of tonnes of ash produced by the plant every day was first mixed with water, then through pipes it was dumped in three ash dumping sites including stage-1 dyke (350 acres), Stage-2 dyke (400 acres) and Stage-3 dyke (225 acres).

The leakage took place because of lack of proper care and routine check of the dykes. Moreover, the leakage of water could not be avoided at all as the boundaries of the dykes had not been concreted, they added.

The Chief Engineer, Mr R.S Sohal, who also visited the spot today, said, “It was timely action of the thermal plant officials which prevented a breach.”

“We have detected the leakage yesterday afternoon and since then our employees had been working to plug it.”

“The leakage will be expected to be controlled tomorrow.” He also denied that flow of ash content was above the approved limit.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |