Green tribunal orders enquiry on Jodhpur industrial sludge

About 10,000 odd industries in and around the city are dumping waste in river tributary, alleges petition

 
By Anupam Chakravartty
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Central and state pollution control boards to conduct a study on increasing sewage and industrial waste in Jodhpur and submit a detailed report within six weeks.  The order has come in response to several public interest petitions by Jodhpur residents who allege sewage and industrial waste is contaminating groundwater and agricultural land in the region. This is leading to various health problems among the people.

One of the petitions by farmer leader U R Beniwal alleges that about 10,000 industries in and around Jodhpur dump untreated waste in Jojari, a tributary of the Luni river in Rajasthan. This has caused extensive damage to at least four tehsils.

Between 2010 and 2012, Beniwal and the other residents had filed several complaints in Rajasthan High Court against Jodhpur Pradushan Nivaran Trust, a body of representatives from local steel rolling, textile and other allied industries that is headed by the district collector. One of the complaints said the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) set up by the trust in Jodhpur does not function satisfactorily. “The plant was set up to treat about 300 million litres per day (MLD) waste from the 10,000-odd industries. But it is equipped to treat only 20 MLD,” says Beniwal. Replies to the Right To Information queries filed by the petitioners show that the CETP did not treat all the waste and disposed much of it directly into the water body. The court, however, transferred the case to the NGT.

A four member principal bench of the NGT, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, on December 19 asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Rajasthan Pollution Control Board (RPCB) to conduct a joint inspection and submit a detailed report on how much industrial effluent and sewage is being discharged into the tributary. Warning that the sludge layer in the Jojari has two metre thick untreated industrial effluent, which is increasing with each day, the NGT also asked the bodies to identify the level of sludge layer on the river, inspect how effective the CETPs are and prepare a list of industries that had been given closure notices.

Earlier in 2011, the district administration of Jodhpur, on the direction of CPCB, had ordered closure of the industries for three days due to discharge of excess sewage. Industry bodies, however, refused to accept the same saying that that it was excess drainage from the city that was causing pollution.

Spilling of waste, caused by lack of proper drainage from Jodhpur, has been one of the contributing factors to the rising levels of pollution in groundwater in the city.


Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution in river Jojari, Jodhpur District, Rajasthan, 19/12/2013

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