CPCB seeks report from Punjab on chemical contamination in Sutlej & Raj canals

Jaipur, June 14 (IANS) Acting on a complaint received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has sought a report from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) on water pollution in the Harike Barrage in Punjab reaching Pilibanga in Rajasthan, affecting the lives of the habitation thereof.

Seeking urgent intervention, Tapish Saraswat, a student of the Law College under Rajasthan University, had lodged a complaint with the PMO on June 8, drawing its attention to the chemical contamination in Sutlej river and the canals supplying water in Rajasthan.

The Harike Barrage, at the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej, channels water into the Indira Gandhi Canal, which runs for about 400 miles (640 km) to the southwest of Rajasthan to irrigate some 1.5 million acres (607,000 hectares) of desert land in western Rajasthan.

The CPCB has now issued a letter to the Punjab Pollution Control Board, asking it to submit a status report and an action taken report on the matter.

Saraswat had said in his complaint that “this water is contaminated by the factories of Ludhiana and hence reached Pilibanga in Hanumangarh on June 7. Chemical foams were clearly visible in the water of the canals here. This matter should be entertained on a priority basis with a speedy investigation as it is a matter of the health of the people of the state”.

The CPCB in its letter to PPCB stated, “It is requested that a detailed investigation report covering aspects such as (i) type of chemical wastes discharged, quantity & chemical composition of chemical wastewater discharged, (ii) sources of chemical discharge into river Sutlej, (iii) water quality of Sutlej River and Rajasthan canals at salient points during the incidence and subsequent to the incident, (iv) action taken by Punjab against the violators indulging in such activities, (v) measures taken for suppressing the chemical contamination in Sutlej River and water supplying Rajasthan canals after the incidence, and (vi) measures taken for control of illegal chemical discharges in Sutlej as well as Rajasthan canals may please be sent to CPCB at an early date to enable CPCB to take further action on the matter.”

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