River pollution: HC breather for dyeing units

The printing and dyeing industry in Jetpur has found a temporary relief in the form of portable plastic washing tubs to replace the illegal washing ghats, which were causing river pollution.

The Gujarat High Court had fixed July 28 as the last date to shut down all the illegal ghats failing which all the 1,140 units in the area would have faced closure. Only 20 per cent of the units boast of effluent treatment plants.

The HC had passed its order in connection with a complaint filed by a farmer from Derdi village that the units were releasing untreated chemicals into the river. According to a recent survey by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), as many as 10 small rivers in the region have been polluted due to effluent discharge from the industries

On Wednesday, the Jetpur Dyeing and Printing Association heaved a sigh of relief, when the HC, in response to their application, said that only those units without any treatment plants will face closure. The HC has given the association a fortnight to demolish the illegal ghats.

Association president Raju Patel said: "We have got a breather. The association has assured the HC that care will be taken that no illegal ghat functions."

He said the association has decided to use plastic tubs as a temporary measure as an alternative to the ghats. "More than 100 units registered with the association on Thursday to get the designs for the plastic tubs. This has been designed by our consultant and each unit costs Rs 6 lakh," Patel said, adding that the two treatment plants will come up near Derdi and Bhad village within a year and will have a capacity to treat six crore litres per day. "Till then, the units will manage with portable ghats," said Patel.

Meanwhile, the HC has asked GPCB to cut the power supply to any unit found using the illegal ghats. "We expect to receive the order in a day or two and soon after, the board will take action," said a GPCB official.

Patel said the HC has cleared the way for the two upcoming treatment plants, which had met with intense protest from the local farmers. "The HC has asked the association to seek the help of the Rajkot district collector in case there is any problem in construction of the plants," Patel added.

One of the oldest in Independent India, the cluster boasts of the maximum number of printing units in the country and contributes a lion's share to Saurashtra's economy. The industry employs over 20,000 workers and exports mainly to African countries.

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