Finally, government to rejuvenate 20-km Tung Dhab drain in Amritsar : The Tribune India

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Finally, government to rejuvenate 20-km Tung Dhab drain in Amritsar

Finally, government to rejuvenate 20-km Tung Dhab drain in Amritsar

The Tung Dhab drain is particularly squalid in the Mustafabad area near Majitha road bypass in Amritsar. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Tribune News Service

GS Paul

Amritsar, June 20

Waking up from deep slumber, the Punjab Government has at last spared time to rejuvenate the Tung Dhab drain in Amritsar.

Cabinet Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal announced that a project proposal worth around Rs 120 crore has been chalked out to clean the drain and develop a leisure belt over it.

“Prior to Lok Sabha polls, I had assured the residents to get this project on track. So what, if I lost the polls, yet over 2 lakh people had shown faith in me by voting in my favour. It was my duty to honour my words,” he said.

Tung Dhab drain was dug up in 1955 to prevent floods. Originating from Gurdaspur, it passes through the middle of the Amritsar city and falls into Lahore’s Hudiara drain, which merges in Ravi.

At present, flouting the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, as well as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, it has become more of a sewerage discharge nullah carrying a million litres of waste sewage and unchecked effluents.

In response to the NGT’s cognisance of the pollution issue, the Amritsar MC had assured to plug all the municipal sewerage release points into Tung Dhab drain by March 31, 2021, but nothing could be materialised till date.

Around 39 industries are situated along the 20-km-long drain passing through the city. Of which, 19 industries are water polluting and discharging 28 MLD (millions of litre per day) polluted waste into the drain. Similarly, the domestic sewerage of 17 localities too was falling directly into the Tung Dhab drain.

Apart from this, nearly 176 dairies located around discharge about 550 KLD (kilolitre per day) waste, throwing livestock dung and other animal waste into this drain.

Highly contaminated and toxic water in the drain was a major cause of concern for the residents living in more than 50 localities, from Verka to Ram Tirath Road, who were being affected by the foul smell and toxic gases emanating from the drain.

However, the NGT guidelines demand that since the Tung Dhab drain is a storm water drain, it cannot be covered.

A project to channelise drain with concrete lining and segregation of industrial and domestic sewage in a separate covered channel is under consideration.

MC Commissioner Harpreet Singh said that the work to streamline the Tung Dhab drain would be carried out in a phased manner.

The cleaning of the drain has been undertaken. Thereafter, the proposal was to lay two parallel pipelines for effluent discharge and sewerage from the localities and other untreated release on both sides of the drain. It is learnt that a separate sewerage-cum-effluent treatment plant has also been proposed by the drainage department to treat the release collected from these pipelines. Once the project is implemented, the drain would be left dry and only act as a seasonal storm water drain

“The sewer water emanating from the localities located on the bypass would drain down in this pipeline not into the Tung Dhab drain. These pipelines would be covered. We have plans to make a cycle track and green belt over it. The DPR (detailed project report) has been prepared. Only the funds are awaited,” the MC Commissioner said.

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