Constructed at a cost of over Rs 8 crore, the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in the industrial area of Kurkhumb (Daund taluka of Pune) leaves much to be desired in terms of its performance.
While the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) claims the CETP is functioning well, reports by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) shows the discharge from the CETP is failing to adhere to the norms.
The CETP, since it was commissioned in 2001-02, has been in controversies. In response to an RTI query filed by The Indian Express, it was revealed that the construction, commissioning and operation had come under scrutiny by various government agencies. While the accountant general had raised questions about its funding, MPCB and Forest Department had pointed out how the discharge from the CETP was polluting the neighbouring regions. Problems regarding its construction were also flagged by the accountant general as a major irregularity during its annual audit. Major issues that came up during the audit was the failure of the MIDC to recover 50 per cent of the construction cost from Industries Association and non-compliance of MPCB norms.
MIDC, as per norms, has to act as a facilitator in building CETP by giving a grant of 20 per cent while MPCB, Central Government and Industries Association contribute 5 per cent, 25 per cent and 50 per cent respectively towards project cost. Although MIDC handed over the CETP to the Industries Association in December 2005, the AG pointed out that it had not recovered Rs 4.41 crore from the Industries Association as per policy. “Although an expenditure of Rs 8.81 crore was incurred, the CETP was not as per norms of MPCB and Forest Department on disposal of water in forest area,” the audit observed.
Ulhas Kulkarni, executive engineer at the Baramati MIDC under which the CETP falls, said the plant was working fine. “The industry body had taken up upgrade of the CETP, after which effluent discharge is within limits,” he said, adding that the Industries Association is being charged by MIDC on a monthly basis.