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Meet on pollution by Punjab unit put off

Officials of Himachal express resentment over postponement

Meet on pollution by Punjab unit put off


Tribune News Service

Lalit Mohan

Dharamsala, May 31

A crucial meeting scheduled to be held today regarding pollution being caused in underground water of Himachal villages by Punjab-based chemical unit Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Ltd (PACL), located on the borders of Punjab and Himachal, has been postponed. The meeting was to be held on the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

NGT forms panel to hear grievance

On the complaint of the residents of Sanoli, Mazara, Binewal and Malookpur villages, a case was filed in the NGT against the trans-boundary pollution caused by the PACL. The NGT has constituted a committee to hear the petitioners, visit the site and submit a fact-finding report to the NGT.

Sources said that the meeting was postponed as Punjab officials, who were to participate in the meeting, expressed their inability to do so. Meanwhile, Himachal officials expressed resentment over the postponement of the meeting that was being held on the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). It was a time- bound meeting and should have been held.

On the complaint of residents of Sanoli, Mazara, Binewal and Malookpur villages, a case was filed in the NGT against the trans-boundary pollution caused by the PACL. The NGT has constituted a committee consisting of officials of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), DC Ropar and DC Una to hear the petitioners, visit the site and submit a fact-finding report to the NGT.

The first meeting of the committee was fixed in Nangal today. However, the meeting could not be held at the Punjab officials failed to spare time for it.

Deputy Commissioner Una, Raghav Sharma, when contacted, said that the meeting could not be held as some Punjab officials expressed their inability to attend it due to some preoccupation.

“Since the matter pertains to underground water pollution in Himachal villages we have expressed our resentment over the fact that meeting could not be held as scheduled,” he said.

Last week a preparatory meeting was held by Una officials with petitioners, local public representatives and departments to prepare a dossier of grievances to be submitted to the committee. It was decided to take samples from tube wells and bore wells allegedly rendered dysfunctional in the concerned area due to underground water pollution.

HPPCB officials had been tasked to obtain complete report of the suitability of water for drinking and irrigation purposes, including salinity, alkalinity, hardness, toxicology, organic compound residues. The HPPCB officials were directed that samples were to be taken in the presence of the petitioner and local body representatives and reports are to be obtained within four weeks.

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