The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday raised concerns over the four Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Chandigarh, which have failed to meet the set norms for effluent discharge in water, which ultimately finds its way to Ghaggar river. The UT administration has been told to upgrade the standards of the four STPs by March, 2021.
An executive committee of the green panel, headed by Justice Pritam Pal was satisfied with the functioning of two STPs at Maloya and Dhanas, which meet the standard norms. However, four STPs are yet to meet the standards. These included STP Raipur Khurd, STP Raipur Kalan, STP Diggian village, and STP 3BRD.
The NGT executive committee stressed on the need to meet the revised standard of BioChemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and especially fecal coliform. Chandigarh representatives informed the NGT that repeated tenders had been floated for the upgradation of STPs. While no companies were interested initially, some have recently shown interests. They added that the work will be allotted shortly.
The Chandigarh administration officers interacted with the green panel representatives through the video conferencing, where the water quality of Ghaggar river was the topic of discussion. Sources said that though Ghaggar river is situated around 7 km away from Chandigarh, city’s N-choe and Sukhna choe ultimately drain into it.
“We presented all the facts about the STPs before the NGT. Two of the six STPs were already meeting the set standards of BOD, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and fecal coliform. We were instructed to upgrade the other four STPs by March, 2021. Chandigarh’s neighboring states including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are also responsible parties, but today the discussion was focused on Chandigarh based STPs,” said Director, UT Environment, Debendra Dalai.
“The standards, which were revised last year, cannot be met overnight. It is a long process. Two STPs, which are upto the marks, are old,” stated another officer present in the meeting.
The Ghaggar river generates from Himachal and passes through Haryana and Punjab. It is among 323 polluted rivers in the country. In May, 2019, the NGT had directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) to revise the standards for BOD and COD, to protect the water quality of rivers. The NGT had also stressed on the need to revise the standards for TSS, nitrogen (ammonia and nirates) and phosphorus and for fecal coliform.
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