More than four years have passed since work on Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) in three major industrial estates’ of Kashmir division was commissioned but none have become operational so far causing adverse impact of sewage and waste water on environment.
Several unitholders from Industrial Growth Centre, Lassipora, Rangreth Industrial Estate and Khonmoh Industrial Estate managed by J&K State Industrial Development Corporation (JKSIDCO) complained about either slow pace of construction work or lacklustreupgradation of the CETPs in these IEs.
A unitholder from Khonmoh, who runs a joinery business, said the biggest technical flaw in the CEPT at Khonmoh Industrial Estate is that drainage of dozens of units are left unconnected to it. “The CEPT is meant to cater to units in Food Park, phase-II and phase-III of the IE but despite being under construction for last three year it is not yet operational,” said ZubairBhat, president, Khonmoh Industrial Association.
Unitholders say although Vivek Associates to whom SIDCO had commissioned the CETP work has handed it over but it remains to be made operational yet. “The 500 kilo litres per day (KLPD) capacity CETP is much awaited by the unitholders. Especially upcoming units at the IE find it difficult to get a NoC from JKSPCB to run the units as they are asked a SIDCO clearance for waste-water treatment. Food units which have necessarily to be connected to ETP are the worst-hit,” said another unitholder.
Similarly, the CEPT at Rangreth Industrial Estate has also not witnessed completion despite SIDCO offering eight extensions to the outside firm during last two years, said unitholders. “Sometimes, they speed-up the work, but they need to do it on the war-footing basis. Considering the number of manufacturing and other industrial units mushrooming in the industrial estate, the CETP is much required,” said a unitholder, wishing not to be named.
The concerned leather unit holders at Industrial Growth Centre at Lassipora have also recently flagged the issue of non-functioning of CETP. The unit holders say prospective players in this sector are made to run from “pillar to post” in getting environmental clearances due to non-functioning of CETP. “Almost Rs 14 crore were spent on setting up the upgraded common effluent treatment plant with the help of central schemes at IGC but it is not being put to use for the units,” said a leather tannery unitholder. However, the SIDCO authorities which along with Industries Department officials visited IGC Lassipora recently have informed that upgradation of the CETP is underway and “will be completed expeditiously”.
When contacted, managing director, JKSIDCO, Ravinder Kumar said all three CETPs will be made operational soon. “We are making all efforts that waste water from industry does not cause pollution. All the CETPs will be up and running soon,” Kumar said.
As per the Union Environment Ministry, there are atleast 304 “red category industries” operating in the ecologically fragile Jammu and Kashmir. Responding to a question by National Conference MP HasnainMasoodi, Minister of State, Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Babul Supriyo said the ministry and State Level Impact Assessment Authority of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have accorded 93 Environment Clearances to various projects in the Jammu and Kashmir under the provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006.