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The Punjab Dyers Association is penalized over environmental breaches by The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). PCCB has taken strict action against PDA for allegedly releasing untreated industrial waste into Buddha Nullah. In response, an interim environmental compensation of ₹75 lacks has been imposed on the PDA’s Focal Point module.
The association has also been directed to submit ₹1 crore as a bank guarantee for the upgrade of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) to meet the required standards. Failure to comply with these directives may result in legal consequences. This move follows the recent findings of the house panel on Buddha Nullah, which uncovered several violations at the Focal Point CETP.
The Punjab Dyers Association, responsible for the operation of the CETP with a capacity to treat 40 million litres per day, has been given seven days to deposit the environmental compensation of ₹75 lacks.
Additionally, the member industries of the CETP (focal point) will remain closed until the cleaning, maintenance, and stabilization of the CETP are completed. Any unit found discharging untreated or treated effluent outside its premises will face legal action.
During a personal hearing between the PDA and CETP operators with the PPCB chairman, it was noted that the PDA has consistently and intentionally violated environmental laws. This further resulted in the degradation of water quality in Buddha Nullah and, subsequently, the Sutlej River.
The PPCB has found that 24 industries have discharged effluents beyond the consented capacity, while the PDA has failed to segregate the effluent from their member units from the municipal sewer. Monthly effluent samples collected by the board do not meet the prescribed standards.
An inspection conducted by Rajya Sabha member Balbir Singh Seechewal and the chairman of the House panel, Daljit Singh Grewal, revealed discrepancies in the functioning of the CETP at Tajpur Road.
The PPCB confirmed that the CETP was not working effectively and efficiently, contradicting the claims made by the PDA and the private company operating the CETP. The representatives of the PDA and the CETP stated that the CETP was functioning well before the panel’s visit and that the PPCB’s sample test report for May indicated compliance with all parameters.
To address the environmental violations, the PPCB has set forth several steps. Environmental engineer Ludhiana will calculate the environmental compensation from the date of CETP commissioning until the last observed violation. The PDA is required to submit a time-bound proposal for the CETP’s upgrade, as initially appraised when receiving government aid.
The PDA must obtain prior permission from the board before commencing the CETP after completing cleaning, maintenance, and stabilization. Furthermore, the construction of an appropriate outlet for effluent samples and the installation of effluent monitoring systems (OCEMS) must be completed within specified timeframes.
While the PDA has requested a separate personal hearing for the pending compensation of ₹2.33 crore, PPCB officials have reminded them of the August 2019 deadline to complete and commission the CETP. Failure to meet this deadline will result in additional environmental compensation of ₹30,000 per day, which must be deposited in the board’s account within seven days after each month-end.
In conclusion, the Punjab Pollution Control Board‘s strict actions against the PDA, as the Punjab Dyers Association penalized over environmental breaches, underscore the significance of environmental compliance. By imposing an interim environmental compensation and directing the upgrade of the CETP, the PPCB aims to prevent the release of untreated industrial waste into Buddha Nullah. These measures will contribute to preserving the water quality of Buddha Nullah and the Sutlej River.