Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar to jointly chalk out a time bound action plan to clean the river Ghaggar and make it pollution free on war footing. A high level meeting between the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar attended by the top brass of both the state governments on the issue of controlling pollution in river Ghaggar held here at Punjab Bhawan this morning. Mr. Khattar was accompanied by the Haryana Forest & Environment Minister Capt. Abhimanyu.
Welcoming the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Badal apprised him that it was the high time for both the states to intensify their ongoing efforts to save the people from the scourge of polluted river water. He avowed to make the river Ghaggar pollution free within one-and-half year. Taking part in the deliberations, Punjab Chief Minister impressed upon Mr. Khattar to initiate immediate remedial measures through installation of STPs/up-gradation of existing STPs based on new technology to bring down the Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) level to 10 mg per liter before discharge of treated sewage/effluents into river Ghaggar to rejuvenate the quality of water of the river to safely utilize its water for irrigation purposes.
Badal further underlined the need to stick to the level of BOD 10mg/per liter instead of 30mg/per liter and asked the Haryana government to achieve the same standards fixed by PPCB otherwise it would adversely affect the quality of soil and crops. Even the treated effluent with BOD 30mg/per liter may affect the human life in case the treated effluent/sewage was discharged into rivers thus posing a major health hazard. The Chief Minister suggested to constitute a committee of the Chief Secretaries of both the states to closely monitor and review the progress for installation of STPs in a time bound manner besides enforcement by the regulatory body to ensure the achievement of standards and not to allow any discharge from industries into rivers.
Badal also assured his Haryana counterpart that he would soon request the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister to take a call on this issue for curtailing the discharge from the industrial and domestic sources from the Parwanoo, Nahan and Kala Amb. After taking Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister into confidence in this regard, a joint meeting of three states would be held shortly to ensure that this mission mode program could be taken to its logical end. It may be recalled that Punjab Chief Minister had a detailed meeting with the Administrator of Union Territory Chandigarh Mr. Shiv Raj V Patil on December 9, to take effective measures to plug the ten vulnerable outlets of untreated sewage and sub standard treated wastewater of Chandigarh region being carried by Sukhna Choe into Ghaggar river in the state. Listing the major initiatives taken by the Punjab government for the cleaning of rivers in the state, the Chief Minister said that a massive program has already been embarked to ensure no discharge of industrial effluents/domestic sewage was flown into the rivers. He further said that a vast network of STPs and ETPs conforming to the standards of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) was being set up in all the towns and cities including industries to treat the polluted sewage/effluents to the permissible levels for making it fit for irrigation.
Extending fulsome support and cooperation to Mr. Badal for this great initiative, the Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar said that the state government would support every endeavour of Punjab government in this regard. He also agreed to the suggestion put forth by Mr. Badal to maintain the BOD level of 10 mg/per liter for the discharge of treated sewage through STPs in Haryana area in a phased manner. Evoking historic importance the Ghaggar river, Mr. Khattar said that the highly revered Sarswati river was once a part of this river in ancient times and thus we all were duty bound to maintain and rejuvenate its quality of water. Both the Chief Ministers also agreed to sit together to resolve other interstate issues affecting the people of both the states in the larger public interest.Earlier, the Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Punjab Mr. SK Sandhu gave a power point presentation highlighting the status of pollution through various sources from both the states including Union Territory Chandigarh and also mentioned the effective steps taken by the state government for the installation of STPs across the river Ghaggar besides the control of pollution by the industries on the basis of zero liquid discharge and further installation of CTPs to achieve the stringent standards and achievement of standards at all the times. Likewise Principal Secretary Environment-cum-chairman HSPCB Haryana Mr. Amit Jha gave a detailed presentation regarding the pollution sources from both the states including Union Territory and Himachal Pradesh area. He also elaborated efforts made by the government of Haryana for the installation of STPs for the towns located on river Ghaggar and initiative of the industries to control pollution.
Prominent amongst others who attended the meeting included Chief Secretary Punjab Mr. Sarvesh Kaushal, Principal Secretary to CM Mr. SK Sandhu, Secretary Irrigation Mr. KS Pannu, Secretary Science Technology & Environment Mrs. Seema Jain, Chairman PPCB Mr. Ravinder Singh, Member Secretary Mr. Babu Ram, CEO Punjab Water Supply & Sewerage Board Mr. DK Tiwari, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. S.Karna Raju. Meanwhile, the Haryana government was represented by the officers including Chief Secretary Mr. PK Gupta, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. Sanjiv Kaushal, Principal Secretary Irrigation Dr. Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary Public Health Mr.Alok Nigam, Director Environment Mr. Sanjiv Verma, IEC Public Health Mr. A Khaterpal and Chief Engineer Irrigation Mr. Vijay Jain.