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Pollution in Panipat
Rs 16 cr treatment plant lies in disuse
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Panipat, June 11
Large amounts of industrial pollutants being drained into the Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) here have become a source of misery not only for local residents but also for those living downstream of the canal.

The local industries that stand tall as a symbol of unprecedented prosperity that they brought along have created more problems than they have solved for the humans as far as environment and natural resources are concerned.

The Yamuna is being constantly fed with discharge from a large number of industrial units that operate from the city. Due to high cost, many units here are reluctant to put up individual water treatment plants.

The units dispose of the industrial discharge either by injecting it directly into the ground (which had been a practice since long and has rendered the underground water of Panipat unfit for consumption) or by draining the pollutants into the WYC, which pollutes the river water.

The state government had been responsive towards this problem and had come up with a new industrial sector, Sector 29 (Part II), on the outskirts of the city, where a common collective water treatment plant was also set up.

However, even after seven years, the industrialists have not shifted their units to this sector, where discharge could have been treated.

It was in 2002 that HUDA was asked to carve out an industrial sector where more than 650 industrial units, including 511 dye houses, could be shifted. Even as more than 400 industrialists were allotted plots in the new industrial sector, none moved the establishment there.

The common water treatment plant was set up at a cost of Rs 16 crore, but the plant is lying useless as there are no industries there.

This plant, if used, could have helped protect water resources from getting polluted. But reluctance on part of industrialists had thwarted the efforts, a pollution board official said.

The Industrialistsí Association maintained that adequate facilities were not available in the new industrial sector and thus it was not possible for them to move there.

Officials of the board said whenever they asked industrial unit owners to shift to the new sector, they showed resistance and in some cases they even started accusing the officials of harassing them.

They said the board had been serving notices to industrialists, but it had failed to affect them. They said some industrialists even enjoyed political patronage and this had made it more difficult for the board to take action against them.

The industrialists had even moved the court seeking a stay on shifting of the units, following which the industrialists were given an interim relief by the court, which had directed them to sort out the matter with the authorities concerned through dialogue. However, till date the matter has not been sorted.

Meanwhile, the draining of industrial discharge into the WYC has become a major problem for residents of Delhi, who get their daily supply of water from the canal. Due to the contamination, Delhi residents have been receiving discoloured water that even has a foul smell.

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