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Soon, highly polluted Buddha Nullah to turn clean water river

Rs 840-cr rejuvenation project to shed ‘nullah’ tag from Sutlej tributary

Soon, highly polluted Buddha Nullah to turn clean water river

An intermediate pumping station coming up on the banks of Buddha Nullah to divert waste water in Ludhiana. TRIBUNE PHOTO

Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, May 11

In what would be a major turnaround and big leap towards environment protection, the highly-polluted Buddha Nullah, a seasonal tributary of the Sutlej flowing in Ludhiana, would soon become a clean water river, the government has said.

Project to be finished in couple of months

We are committed to replacing the nomenclature Buddha Nullah with Buddha Dariya (river) by achieving zero discharge of sewage and effluents flowing into the Sutlej tributary since ages, causing the main source of pollution in the river. The project has been taken up on a priority basis and will be completed in the next couple of months to ensure that only treated or fresh/storm water may flow into the Buddha river.

Bhagwant Mann, Chief Minister

With the ambitious Rs 840-crore rejuvenation project entering advanced stage of completion, one of the most polluted water bodies, running almost parallel to the Sutlej through most of Ludhiana district, including 14-km in Ludhiana city, which it bisects into two parts, before merging with the Sutlej, would also close to shed the infamous tag of “nullah”, officials have claimed.

The development assumes significance as the first-of-its-type project had faced teething problems and had got adversely hit due to Covid restrictions during the initial months following which it had missed four deadlines to complete the capital work.

Since the project has already achieved 85 per cent completion, the fresh deadline was fixed as August 31.

MC Commissioner Shena Aggarwal told The Tribune here on Thursday that the goal of the project was to give a new lease of life to the Buddha Nullah and make it a clean water body by ensuring that only treated domestic wastewater or fresh or storm water may flow in it.

She said several components of the project had already been completed while rest of them were in the advanced stage of completion and the pace of the ongoing work had been further accelerated to complete it by August 31.

Divulging the progress report, Dr Aggarwal said of the two new sewage treatment plants (STPs) being constructed, a 225-MLD capacity STP at Jamalpur, which was the biggest such facility in the state, had already been established while 60 per cent work to set up a 60-MLD capacity STP at Balloke had been completed so far with the target to make it functional within next couple of months.

Under the domestic effluent management of the project, six intermediate pumping stations (IPSs) on the banks of the nullah were being installed of which two units – 12-MLD capacity at Tibba and 8-MLD capacity at Sundar Nagar – had been established and were under trial run, while 65 per cent work had been completed on the 5-MLD capacity IPS at Kundanpuri, 64 per cent on the 13-MLD capacity at Upkar Nagar, 62 per cent on the LMH IPS, and 5 per cent progress had been achieved to set up another IPS near Gaushala.

To check the 137-MLD industrial effluent discharge into the nullah, all industrial units have either been connected to common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) or had installed their own captive effluent treatment plants (ETPs). Of the major effluent discharge contributors, 105-MLD effluent was discharged by three dyeing clusters, 17-MLD by 12 large-scale dyeing units, 9-MLD by 16 scattered and 28 dyeing units of Industrial Area A, 0.5-MLD by electroplating units, while 6-MLD industrial effluent was discharged by other industries such as milk plants, garment washing units, breweries, beverages, commercial establishments and service stations.

Besides, the work on dairy waste management has also picked up pace on construction of two ETPs for handling liquid waste from the dairy complex. While 20 per cent work had been completed on 3.75-MLD capacity ETP at Haibowal, 25 per cent work had been achieved on another 2.25-MLD capacity plant on Tajpur Road with a target to complete them till August 31.

On the expenditure front, a sum of Rs 460.97 crore had been spent so far, which accounted for 88.82 per cent of the total capital work cost of Rs 519 crore. Besides, Rs 26.79 crore had been earmarked as operation and maintenance cost for construction period while Rs 294 crore would be spent on operation and maintenance cost for another 10 years after completion of the construction.

While the project amount, as per DPR (detailed project report), was Rs 650 crore, the work was awarded at Rs 839.79 crore.

Missed deadlines

The work, which was awarded to a Mumbai-based joint venture group at the capital cost of Rs 519 crore, besides the operation and maintenance cost of Rs 321 crore, was initially scheduled to be completed by December 1, 2022, which was missed and later, the extended deadlines of March 2023, May 2023 and June 30, 2023, had also not been met.

Brainchild of ex-CS

Brainchild of the then Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, the project was launched by the then Capt Amarinder Singh government to check the existing 625 MLD untreated domestic wastewater discharged directly into the nullah and the future discharge, if any.

The major work under the rejuvenation of the 47.55-km-long nullah had been awarded for domestic wastewater management


Rs 650 cr DPR amount

Rs 839.79 cr Awardedamount

Rs 519 cr Capital work cost

Expenditure incurred: Rs 460.97

O&M cost for 21 months: Rs 26.79

O&M cost for 10 years: Rs 294

  • Project started: December 2, 2020
  • Missed deadlines: December 2022, March, May, June 2023
  • Fresh deadline: August 31, 2023

Progress till date 85%

(Source: Municipal Corporation, amount in crores)

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