PPCB orders shut down of Leather Complex for 15 days

Following the detection of discharge of highly toxic effluents in the kala sanghia drain and non-operation of the common effluent treatment plant (CEPT) of the Leather Complex on Tuesday, the Punjab Pollution Control Board Chairman(PPCB) Ravinder Singh, on Wednesday ordered 'shut down' of all tannery units for 15 days from Saturday.

If any tannery is found operating in this period, their electricity supply would be disconnected and action launched against them, said PPCB Chairman at a meeting with the Punjab Effluent Treatment Society (PETS), which runs the CETP.

It was a closed door meeting and PETS protested against the chairman's order, but he did not budge, said sources.

Ravinder Singh, who also visited the Leather Complex, asked PETS to take corrective measure during the shut-down period.

Sources said that it came out at the meeting that when the capacity of CETP was enhanced from 5MLD (million litre a day) to 6 MLD by PETS, the entire plant got disturbed due to which the accumulated sludge raised the toxicity level in the plant. As a result, it could not process the effluent to the desired standards and released toxic water in the drain.

During a surprise visit of PPCB officials and environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal on Tuesday, it was found that highly toxic water was being released in the drain.

Ajay Sharma, Director-cum-secretary of PETS, said they will take corrective measure during the shutdown of the complex.

However, the Punjab Leather Federation is up in arms against PETS. Federation president Lt Col (retd.) J S Paul said the tanneries were being punished for the fault of PETS.

"We are paying Rs 35 lakh per month for maintenance of the CETP and now our units are being closed for no fault of ours,'' he said.

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