Dyeing mills impacting jailbirds, HC directs state to take action | Ludhiana News

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Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to take action on suggestions given by the amicus curiae, who was appointed by it on a PIL filed on release of toxic gases from dyeing mills in Ludhiana causing adverse impact on the health of Ludhiana Central Jail inmates.
In his report supported by photographs showing illegal activities of dyeing factory owners, the amicus curiae has recommended prosecution in some of the cases.
When the matter came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli, amicus curiae HC Arora submitted his report. Arora informed the HC that he along with two civil engineers from Ludhiana, Kapil Dev and Kulwant Singh Rai, had conducted spot inspection of Buddha Nullah and checked the sewerage treatment plant (STP) located across it, opposite the central jail. He submitted photographs of pollutants being emitted by chimneys of various dyeing factories.
He placed on record a photograph showing discharge of industrial pollutants into Buddha Nallah through illegal connections. He has recommended prosecution of such factory owners under environment laws, and closing down of all submersible pumps installed by the units. He has suggested re-cycling of treated water of STP to the dyeing factories for utilization and the entire cost of the infrastructure be borne by the unit owners on the principle that “polluter must pay”, as evolved by the Supreme Court.
Taking note of the report, the bench asked the state to initiate appropriate steps within the next two weeks and file a status report by May 29.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) also submitted a status report in the HC, detailing steps taken by them, which included 181 inspections. The board submitted that there were 96 dyeing units operating near central jail, Tajpur Road, and out of it, 86 units were using rice husk and agriculture residue as fuel in boilers and remaining 10 were using rice pet coke, which were approved fuels.
“In the past too, similar complaints were received from residents of neighbouring areas regarding burning of illegal fuel, municipal solid waste, plastic waste, rubber waste and generation of air pollution by the dyeing units on Tajpur Road. The PPCB has been diligently testing the pollution levels in and around the industrial zone. A total of 31 air emission samples of industries located on Tajpur Road were collected by the board from April 1, 2018, to April 30, 2019. Out of which, 26 air emission samples met the prescribed standards and five air emission samples of five units reported readings beyond the prescribed standards and notices were issued to them,” PPCB has submitted in its report.
The board said the groundwater samples within 1km area of the jail were collected and after obtaining the analysis report, the results would be placed before the HC.
The HC on May 2 had issued a notice to the Punjab government and appointed advocate HC Arora to assist the court as amicus curiae.

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