Zira protesters claim victory as panel finds toxins in groundwater samples collected from liquor plant : The Tribune India

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Zira protesters claim victory as panel finds toxins in groundwater samples collected from liquor plant

Zira protesters claim victory as panel finds toxins in groundwater samples collected from liquor plant

Sanjha Morcha members Fateh Singh Dhillon, Roman Brar and Gurmail Singh Sarpanch during a press conference in Ferozepur on Tuesday. Tribune photo



Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, April 4

In a “moral” victory for hundreds of protesters, under the banner of the Sanjha Morcha, a three-member fact-finding team has submitted its report, confirming the presence of various toxic substances and certain harmful chemicals in the samples collected from the Zira ethanol plant.

Lead, arsenic detected

The report said toxic substances, including lead, chromium, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls and phenolic compound were found in the samples collected from Malbros Industry in Zira

The team was constituted by the state government to ascertain the quality of groundwater in and around the plant.

The report was submitted by the team comprising Dr Manpreet Singh Bhatti from GNDU, Amritsar; Dr Dwarika Nath, an expert from Thapar Institute, Patiala; and Dr Indramani Dhada from the IIT, Ropar, to DC Rajesh Dhiman. It said toxic substances, including lead, chromium, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls and phenolic compounds were found in the samples collected from Malbros Industry in Zira.

Take action against officials

The govt should act against the officials who had given NOCs and a ‘clean chit’ to the plant which had been polluting the groundwater. Fateh Singh Dhillon, Sanjha Morcha member

It said the parameters were above the permissible limit set by Indian standard for drinking water.

Further, the report said the concentration of lead found in water samples was 0.26 ppm which is more than the permissible limit of 0.01 ppm, besides the concentration of phenolic compounds and chromium was also higher than the specified limit.

The team also found high concentration of volatile fatty acids, besides other toxic elements in soil samples collected from the plant site. The report, however, said in the absence of limited understanding of the manufacturing process of the ethanol industry and consumption of raw materials, the sources of toxic elements used by the industry could not be ascertained. It said this further needed specialised expertise to check mass balance approach in the flow diagram of ethanol production.

According to information, the team had collected 13 samples, including seven within the plant premises besides six within a five-kilometre radius around the unit.

Meanwhile, Sanjha Morcha members held a press conference today during which Gurmail Singh Sarpanch said the report had validated their concerns for which they had been fighting for the past eight months.

“The CM had asked us to bring a document which has some scientific proof, and now this report says it all,” said Gurmail, adding that due to the pollution caused by the plant, several villagers lost their lives. “We request the CM to impose a penalty of Rs 1,000 crore on the plant and further provide monetary help to the families who have suffered,” said Gurmail.

Roman Brar, another Sanjha Morcha member, said the government should cancel all the FIRs registered against the protesters. “For the past eight months, we have been sitting on peaceful protest, but the administration has levelled several allegations against us,” said Roman, adding that they had been fighting for justice.

#Ferozepur #Zira Agitation


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