Only 23 people have got the connections of the sewage treatment plant that was commissioned in the Baddi Municipal Committee area in September last year.
The dismal response has made it difficult for the operator to run the plant, which was supposed to receive 5,500 kilo litres of sewage per day. It is receiving barely 70 kilo litres per day, which is only a fraction of the total waste and insufficient to run it.
As many as 25,633 permanent residents of Baddi were expected to benefit from the scheme though the total population, including floating, in this industrial cluster is much higher.
Baddi Infrastructure Limited (BIL), a special utility vehicle, is already running a common effluent treatment plant; the state government had funded its construction. A sum of about Rs 35 crore was spent to set up the plant — Rs 9.98 crore on the sewage treatment plant, Rs 22 crore on laying pipelines in the town and other expenditures. The plant authorities had contributed Rs 2.19 crore of its own but even this amount is stuck due to the poor response.
Insufficient sewage supply
The plant operator says that as the plant does not receive sufficient sewage, it has become difficult to run it. A request has been made to the local civic body to issue a sufficient number of connections by creating awareness among residents. The plant is supposed to receive Rs 3.40 per kilo litre as treatment charges from the local civic body. The civic body has been requested to grant 3 million litres of load on a daily basis to ensure the plant remains viable.
Industries take initiative
Interestingly, while residents are yet to apply for connections, some industrial units, which have been sending sewage to the plant for treatment, are also diverting industrial effluents to it. The total dissolved solids, which is a measure of the dissolved combined content of all inorganic and organic substances present in a liquid, are generally around 500 to 700 in a sewage treatment plant. This figure has gone up to 1,200 to 1,300, says the plant operator. He adds that it is worrisome that industrial effluents are being diverted to the sewage treatment plant.
The Baddi area, which witnessed a phenomenal rise in population after 2003, now has the facility for scientific disposal of sewage. A large chunk of waste is finding its way into water bodies such as the Sarsa river, causing water pollution. Even the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken note of the poor quality of the river water and the plant is supposed to address the problem of sewage. However, the lackadaisical response of the residents has put a question mark over its functioning.
Ranveer Singh Verma, Executive Officer of Baddi Municipal Committee, says efforts are being made to create awareness among residents to have sewage treatment plant connections. The ward members have also been asked to motivate people to apply for connections. There are about 1,500 households in the committee area that are expected to take the connections.
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