July 6, 2008

PCB Swoops Down on 3 Distilleries

LUCKNOW: It is the turn of distilleries allegedly discharging untreated effluents into the Gomti to face the music. On Thursday, three teams of officials from UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) raided the premises of three distilleries upstream of the river and decided to issue notices asking them to stop operations.

The move came almost three days after scores of fish died at various points. It was alleged that factories released untreated water upstream of the river resulting in fatalities.

The Jal Sansthan (LJS) too had alleged that the discharge heavily polluted the river, turning its colour golden brown. Sources said that the incident forced LJS to stop the raw water intake abruptly even as the officials rushed to various sites, starting Gaughat.

The teams comprising UPPCB chairman AK Mishra, member secretary CS Bhatt, regional officer PN Tandon and other senior officials thus conducted a surprise inspection at Bajaj Hindustan Ltd in Lakhimpur Kheri, Awadh Sugar mill distillery and Dalmiya Sugar mill in Sitapur. The distilleries, according to chief environmental engineer (CEO), UPPCB, Swami Nath Ram, have been asked to stop their operations until they install better equipment to stop discharge of untreated effluents into the river.

Ram said that the distilleries are required to install the latest 'multi effect evaporator and incinerator' so that untreated effluents does not flow into the river. The directions were given after the squad found the 'bio-compost plant' in a poor state with a grave possibility of untreated waste water finding its way into the river.

The squad also found that the overall house-keeping of the distilleries was not up to the mark. The CEO said that strict action would be taken against the factories in case they did not adhered to the prescribed norms.

While UPPCB authorities were scanning the upstream situation of river, Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) decided to launch into a tree plantation drive between Kudiaghat to Gomti barrage. According to a senior official at LMC, they would be planting as many as 20,000 tree sapling all along the banks of the river so as to stop siltation and prevent erosion of the banks.

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