A legal battle over payment of dues has brought Asia’s largest Sewage Treatment Plant to a grinding halt with the unit now working at just 10 per cent of its 345 MLD (million litres a day) capacity.
Set up in Bharwara area on outskirts of Lucknow city, the Rs 169-crore STP did not treat the sewage for almost one year following a dispute between the contractor firm Hydroair Tectonics (PCD) Limited, Mumbai, and UP Jal Nigam. That STP has been developed under phase-II of Gomti Action Plan for reducing pollution in Gomti river.
Lucknow district magistrate Raj Shekhar alongwith officials of Jal Nigam, municipal corporation and Irrigation Department, inspected the STP Tuesday and found that it was being run by the contractor, as per the direction of the court, only at 10 per cent of total capacity. They also found that almost all the machines were rusting while against the required staff of 60, only four were working.
The DM said a meeting of Jal Nigam, municipal corporation and the contractor will be convened soon to discuss the issue soon. The Jal nigam has been directed to submit water quality report every day for one month to DM office to assess the functioning of STP.
Hydoair Tectonics (PCD) Limited Chairman H B Singh had recently told The Indian Express that STP was operational and treating sewage.
He had also confirmed that his firm has filed a case in Lucknow district court as well as Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court against UP Jal Nigam on the issue of delay in payment of Rs 47 crore.
Sources in Jal Nigam said the laboratory, where pollution levels in the samples of untreated and treated sewage water is supposed to be checked was lying closed for almost eight months. Local villagers have demolished a portion of the boundary wall and graze their animals in STP compound.
The work on Bharwara STP had begun on July 18, 2008 and then Chief Minister Mayawati had dedicated it to public on January 15, 2011, on her birthday. At that time the STP was not functioning in full capacity as only eight drains were connected with the two pumping stations of the Haider Canal and Kukrail that time. Six months later, STP had become fully operational as Jal Nigam had then connected all 26 drains of city to the STP and it was treating about 300 million litres of the city’s total discharge.
The DM today also inspected the Daulatganj STP which was found working at 56 MLD against the inflow of about 70 MLD. DM said a proposal to enhance its capacity by 14 MLD at a cost of Rs 20 crore has been submitted to the government.