Since about 1.5 crore litres of water is taken out from the ground of Punjab on a daily basis, the level of water which was 150 feet earlier is now 350 feet. It is high time that general public and even departments concerned started taking measures to save water or Punjab would face severe water scarcity or no water after 25 years.
This was stated by the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forest, under the chairmanship of the Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Ashwani Kumar.
The committee held deliberations with members of civil society organisations, NGOs, officials of the Punjab government including those from science, technology and environment, municipal corporation, pollution control boards and Central ministry of environment, forests and climate change to assess the status of environment in Ludhiana covering air, water and noise pollution, and management of solid waste.
The committee visited the rear of Budha Nallah and Ayurvedic College which is one of the major outfalls discharging untreated domestic effluents to the Budha Nallah. Kumar stated that Ludhiana was a critically polluted city and the present committee would not compromise with the environment. He said, “If the Punjab government has fund crunch, the Union government must help them and environment should not suffer in the name of fund crunch. Already Rs 280-crore project is being carried out by the state government for making pucca of the lining of Buddha Nallah.”
Kumar said that they would not let plastic and thermocol to be thrown into water bodies anymore as these were hazardous. In 2013, as many as 1,376 samples of water were taken from Malwa area of Punjab by Bhabha atomic Research Centre and Tata Memorial out of which 70% had uranium content. Bhabha has assured to control uranium in water through their special project. The committee members, however, did not throw light on that special project.
The city generates about 750 MLD of combined domestic/industrial effluents. Out of the 600 MLD of domestic waste generated, 466 MLD of domestic effluent is treated in five sewage treatment plants before being discharged into Budha Nallah while the remaining 134 MLD domestic effluent is discharged untreated into Budha Nallah.
The committee was apprised of the action plan for management of solid waste and augmenting the treatment capacity of sewage treatment plants. The Punjab Pollution Control Board has implemented insitu bio remediation of Budha Nallah at a cost of Rs 150 crore to improve the quality of Budha Nallah before confluence with Sutlej river.
The other major sources of pollution of Budha Nallah are the dairy complexes located on Haibowal and Tajpur Road which contribute to Budha Nallah and ultimately affect the water quality of Satluj.
Ashwani Kumar, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, said that Ludhiana was the economic capital of Punjab and had played a great role in the industrial revolution of the country. Cycles, hosiery and other goods have their own space in the international arena. But the industrial growth has also deteriorated the quality of air, water and other natural resources, particularly Sutlej, the water of which is being used for drinking purposes in Rajasthan and south Punjab.