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Liquor baron’s industrial unit causes pollution


Dasuya (Hoshiarpur), May 6

An industrial unit located on the Chandigarh-Hoshiarpur-Jammu highway in Randhawa village, near here, has been openly polluting the environment for the past many years.Owned by a known liquor baron of the region, Chadha Estate is not only causing air pollution but the underground water has also been polluted to a great extent.

The pollution caused by the industrial unit has been endangering vegetation besides posing a threat to human life and livestock.

The problem is severe in Randhawa, Daffar, Maangarh, Bhana, Bodlan, Bersha, Jhingar-Kalan, Takhipur and certain other villages. Up in arms against the management of the industrial unit, residents of these villages have knocked at every door, but the authorities concerned have failed to redress their grievances.

A visit by The Tribune to the villages revealed that hand-pumps sunk surrounding the factory have been drawing orange-coloured contaminated water. The chimneys of the industrial unit spew fly ash.

Santokh Singh, a resident of Takhipur village, claimed that the hazardous waste, air and water pollution had been endangering flora and fauna of the area. Besides, crops in the adjoining fields were affected and the yield had gone down, he lamented.

Jasbir Singh of Bodlan village claimed that stench emitted from the factory often filled the nostrils which made life miserable in villages in the surrounding area.

Umrao Singh, president of the Sugar Division of Chadha Estate, denied the allegations. He claimed that certain local leaders had been creating a hue and cry unnecessarily for their vested interests. He claimed that the Punjab Pollution Control Board had collected water samples from the area, which were found fit for use. The hazardous waste and air pollution are being managed as per the directions of the board, he claimed.

Toxic water used for irrigation

Bathinda, June 29

Even after observing its health hazards, farmers of about 12 villages of this district are still using black smelly and toxic sludge flowing in the Lisada drain to irrigate their agricultural fields.

The absence of canal water and highly fluoride dissolved groundwater has left farmers of villages located along the banks of the Lisada drain, namely Shergarh, Mallawala, Kaile Bandar, Chak Ruldu Singh Wala, Kotbhara, Kot Bakhtu, Kotfatta, Ramgarh Bhunder, Chathewala, Jeewan Singh Wala, Manak Khana, Pathrala and others to irrigate their fields with the black water.
The water is so infected that people, who are consuming the crops irrigated with this toxic waste, are reportedly falling prey to diseases like joint pains and cancer.

Visiting some of the villages, in question, a Tribune team today observed the people were quite aware about the adverse effects of their irrigation practice, but they lamented the waste water irrigation as the sole source to run their livelihood. They said the drain carried sludge and waste of some factories located in Barnala district but after entering Bathinda district, water from an irrigation distributary, near Rampura, get mixed in it.

Villagers said by collecting money most of the farmers had installed motor pumps along the banks of the drain to lift the water.
Showing his paddy field, inundated under the drain water, Gurcharan Singh of Ramgarh Bhunder village said: “It is stinking, which leaves doubt about its harmful effect on crops also.”

“Taking precautions, I use to sell the yield in the market and buy canal-irrigated yield of crops for self consumption. But sometimes I feel it is like cheating the innocent people who consume it, but I have no other option to earn my livelihood,” said Gurcharan Singh.

On his part, Paramjeet Singh Sandhu, Chief Agricultural Officer, Bathinda, said: “The issue is in our notice and a number of times we have requested the Punjab Agricultural University authorities to test the water to ascertain the composition of the black water flowing in the drain, but every time it gets confined to papers only.”

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