Punjab Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, on Tuesday directed all the departments concerned to take necessary measures to address the major environmental issues in the state and control water and air pollution besides ensuring proper solid and plastic waste management.She reiterated the firm commitment of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Government to make the state clean, green and pollution-free under the Mission Tandrust Punjab. She said it was even more important in the prevailing pandemic situation that all the departments must take care of the environment related issues in the state.She was chairing a high-level meeting to review the progress of the action plan to control the stubble burning under the environment plan in the state here.The Agriculture department informed that all out efforts were being made to motivate the farmers for diversifying the longer duration varieties of paddy to short duration varieties and switching to other crops such as maize, cotton, and horticulture.It was also informed that a project of Rs 880 crore has been submitted to the Union Ministry of Agriculture for providing machinery for crop residue management in the state.The Punjab Energy Development Agency apprised the meeting that a biomass power project of 6 MW capacity has been completed while two biomass projects of 14 MW capacity and two bio CNG projects of 36.5 TPD capacity were under construction and likely to be completed by this year end. This has resulted in reduction of around 8 million tonnes of paddy straw in the state.
Giving details of the measures being taken to check the water pollution in Sutlej river due to discharge of sewage and effluents, mainly from Ludhiana, the Water Resources department submitted that the project for release of 200 cusecs of fresh water from Sirhind canal to Buddha Nullah would be completed by this month end.Taking stock of the progress of 120 STPs being set up in various towns of the state, the Chief Secretary directed the departments concerned to strictly adhere to the timelines given by each department for completion of the work on the project.The Soil and Water Conservation department informed the meeting that the work to establish an irrigation network for reusing 38 MLD of treated sewage in the towns of Rampura Phul, Sangat and Khanna has been completed and the farmers have started using the treated wastewater.The Rural Development and Panchayats department informed the Chief Secretary that the work on rejuvenation of ponds has been completed in 545 villages and was under progress in 638 villages of the state.It was resolved that the single use plastic would be eliminated and the DCs and the Municipal Commissioners would make every effort for its elimination. This matter would be reviewed at the Chief Secretary level once in two months.Presenting the progress made for controlling air pollution in nine non-attainment cities, the Principal Secretary Environment briefed that 114 induction furnaces and 57 brick kilns have adopted the side suction hood and induced draft technology. Further, 57 steel re-rolling mills have converted from coal to CNG/ PNG. This has resulted in considerable reduction of air pollution in Mandi Gobindgarh, Khanna and Ludhiana.The Director Environment informed that the state has also strengthened its ambient air quality monitoring infrastructure by installing 10 continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations at various strategic locations.