Ahead of yet another hearing by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the case of installation of a decade-old project of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) for the dyeing industry, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has written to the Centre reminding it to release releasing the pending Rs 12 crore each for two such plants.
Two CETPs costing Rs 50 crore and Rs 55 crore respectively are coming up on Ludhiana’s Tajpur Road, of which Rs 15 crore for each CETP is to be given by the Centre, while Rs 7.5 crore each is to be contributed by by state government. So far, the state has contributed Rs 1.5 crore each for both CETPs. The Centre has so far given Rs 3 crore each for two CETPs.
On June 30, the NGT had directed both the state and Centre to release the pending amount within three weeks. The next hearing is on July 23. While PPCB has released its share — Rs 6 crore each for CETP with 50 million litres per day (MLD) capacity costing Rs 55 crore and 40 MLD capacity costing Rs 50 crore — the Centre is yet to release its Rs 12 crore each share for both CETPs. They are meant for nearly 200 dyeing units located on Tajpur Road and Focal Point area. As of now, dyeing units claim to treat water through their individual Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs), but off and on, violations keep on happening. The latest happened on July 14, when a dyeing firm, Aggarwal Scientific Dyers, located in phase-8 of Focal Point, was raided by environmental engineer Sandeep Behl. The ETP was found to be defunct. The collection tank was filled to the brim. The condition indicated that the industry was discharging its effluents through illegal means during odd hours in sewer lines.
This industry was earlier also visited by an NGT monitoring committee headed by Justice Pritam Pal and S L Aggarwal, former chief secretary, Punjab last year its ETP was found non-operational even then. Environmental compensation of Rs 20 lakh was imposed upon the industry and directions for closure were issued on July 14. Hence a question mark has been raised over the delay in installation of CETPs as many chronic defaulters discharge effluents in sewer lines which further gets mixed up with Buddha nullah and finally with the Sutlej.
“Such anomalies do happen at times, but if CETPs will be installed, things will be organised. This is the reason that we are after PPCB and Union Ministry to get the grants released. One CETP’s cost is Rs 50 crore and another of Rs 55 crore. While Rs 22.5 crore is the grant from state and Centre, the rest has been contributed by industrialists themselves,” said Bobby Jindal, general secretary of Punjab Dyers Association.
Meanwhile, 32 acres of land for the project was allotted in 2010 and later in 2014, the Association had surrendered 14 acres to the government. The project remained shelved till 2016. Initially, the Association made a combined project for all the dyeing units worth Rs 437 crore, but later it was segregated into 3 CETPs, costing Rs 34 crore, Rs 50 crore and Rs 55 crore respectively. Till now only one CETP of Rs Rs 34 crore for Bahadruke dyeing industry has been made operational and rest are lying pending for want of funds. “If funds are released by the Centre as well, our CETPs will be operational by year end,” said Jindal.
Environment activists are already protesting against the proposed industrial park near Mattewara forest range with a plea the it can cause water pollution in Sutlej. They reason that old projects are already contributing to pollution, and if more industry is allowed, it not only disturb the ecology of the area but also also contribute to air and water pollution.