THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court Tuesday directed the Punjab government to take corrective steps against the concerns raised in the amicus curiae’s report regarding nearly a 100 dyeing mills situated near Ludhiana’s Central Jail which are alleged to be emitting toxic gases and effluents. The court earlier had taken note of the issue after the jail inmates had claimed it was affecting their health.
Seeking a reply and status report from the government on the report submitted by advocate Hari Chand Arora before the court, the division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli observed the report draws a gloomy picture.
While the Punjab Pollution Control Board claimed that it has carried out 181 inspections of the dyeing units since June 2018 and around 18 units were found in default during the period, the court said only one inspection report of the amicus has exposed everything. The case was adjourned to May 29 after state’s reply was sought on the report.
In the report, advocate Arora claimed that some of the units were throwing untreated effluents into the “Budha Nalla” – which is located near the jail, and recommended action against them. He also suggested that burning of illegal material should be restrained with immediate effect.
In its report, the Pollution Control Board said the dyeing units are making use of approved fuels in their boiler furnaces and also have installed individual Air Pollution Control Devices to control air pollution. However, the report also revealed that the Board has been regularly receiving complaints from the residents regarding burning of illegal fuel.
The Board also submitted that five out 31 Air Emission Samples taken in the between April 2018 and April 2019 were found to be beyond the prescribed standards following which notices were issued to the industry owners for violation of the relevant Act. Out of 18 defaulting units, eight were closed down since last year. It also added that that the ground water has been collected within one kilometre of the Central Jail and analysis of it us under process.
The PIL was initiated earlier on the basis of a report sent by the Districts and Sessions Judge Ludhiana to the court.