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Jalandhar

Posted at: Mar 28, 2019, 8:05 AM; last updated: Mar 28, 2019, 8:05 AM (IST)

NGT panel visits polluted Doaba water bodies

Issues Apr 10 deadline for disposal of effluents; erring officials to face action

Implementing Sutlej Action Plan

  • Committee members — head Justice Pritam Singh (retd) and former Punjab chief secretary Subodh Aggarwal — visited various tributaries of the Sutlej today. The visit is a part of the actionbeing taken under the NGT team to implement the Sutlej Action Plan for the cleansing of the river.
NGT panel visits polluted Doaba water bodies
NGT monitoring team in Sultanpur Lodhi, Kapurthala, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 27

A week after the first meeting of the monitoring committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), members of the monitoring committee visited the Kala Sanghian drain and Kali Bein in Sultanpur Lodhi and pulled up officials of the sewerage board as well as the Local Bodies Department. Committee members have issued a deadline of April 10 to officials for the proper disposal of effluents and functioning of the sewerage treatment plant (STP) at Basti Peerdaad.

Officials of the committee, appointed by the National Green Tribunal, while reviewing river bodies of the Sutlej here today took officials to task.

Committee members – panel head Justice Pritam Singh (retd) and former Punjab chief secretary Subodh Aggarwal, visited various tributaries of the Sutlej today. The visit is a part of the action being taken under the NGT team to implement the Sutlej Action Plan for the cleansing of the river.

Reprimanding officials of the sewerage board and the local bodies, the team members chided officers for allowing toxin-ridden water from drains to flow away free without being routed to drains.

Notably, while industrial effluent-ridden water from Jalandhar, falling into the Kala Sanghian drain, are first supposed to be treated at the 50 MLD STP at Basti Peerdaad, this cleansing process is currently heavily comprised.

Only 30 MLD of the dirty water is being treated at the drain while the rest is flowing away into the drains within the city, causing heavy environmental pollution. Simultaneously, the untreated water from the STP working below capacity is mixing into the water of the Kala Sanghian as well as the Holy Kali Bein.

While the team has been on a two-day visit to see river bodies of the region being dirtied by effluents, it visited Nawashahr yesterday.

Along with members of the committee, environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal, who is also a member of the panel, officials of the sewerage board, PPCB and other departments were among those present.

While committee members have issued a deadline of April 10 for officials to set things in order for the cleansing of the drains, they have also warned that in case the officials concerned fail to abide by the instructions, strict action will be taken against erring persons.

Notably, months after the National Green Tribunalrap to the state, the state is also yet to pay the Rs 50 crore fine to the tribunal for polluting waters of the Beas and the Sutlej.

The committee also noted that this fine is also supposed to be paid soon.

While the first meeting of the committee took place on February 20, the committee had made a declaration that it would visit STPs on February 26 and also take samples of water, which had been notorious for being left arsenic-laden and untreated despite various raps from the NGT.

While the committee had — in the meeting — noted that only sequencing batch reactor (SBR) technology-based STPs in the state were compliant, the rest of the STPs had not been brought to order despite repeated directions on the same by the National Green Tribunal.

Meanwhile, the committee had also ordered the closure of the Dera Bassi-based pharmaceutical company, which is dumping toxic chemicals to the ground, causing major water contamination threat in the state.

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