The Bhattian sewerage plant has stopped working, for the past four days, due to a transformer snag leaving the whole area in a complete mess. Ludhiana Newsline visited the two other STPs of the city and found that the situation is no better.
Divulging details of the mess, the official from sewerage board, on the condition of anonymity, said: “To maintain the three plants we require at least Rs 30 lakh per month but Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) has not given us even half the amount. We have just received Rs 40 lakhs this financial year (2012-13) and dues of more than Rs 3 crore is pending with the civic body.” He further added: “The sewerage board is always at the receiving end because if a plant does not run even for a single day, an FIR is filed against the board. Nobody realises we are fund-strapped.”
The official even admitted that the funds from other schemes, running under the board in areas like Ropar, Khanna, Doraha and Machhiwara, are ‘diverted’ to handle the situation. “We know it is not right and in a way illegal but we do not have any other option. We cannot drown the city,” he said. The three plants are only for domestic water treatment but in reality industrial and other commercial wastes have choked them.
Designed to handle 48 million litre per day (MLD) by 2025, the plant is already choked with 70 MLD. What has added to it problems is that according to a survey conducted by the Punjab Pollution Control Board, more than 70 per cent of the water is from industrial units containing heavy metals and chemicals. The machinery of the plant has completely worn out and rusted due to the chemicals. “It is performing poorly and requires heavy immediate maintenance,” said the source.
Balloke village plant
A dairy complex situated near the plant is adding to the woes of this plant as it has connected its sewerage lines illegally to it. Tonnes of cow dung coming daily from the dairy pipes has completely choked the polishing units of this plant . “Probably crores are required for actual and proper cleaning of this plant,” said the source. The plant with capacity of 105 MLD and 152 MLD is handling 215 MLD, which as per source is not a problem.
Bhattian village plant
With no alternative to maintain the flow of water if the plant stops working, it is the worst performing of the three. Not working due to transformer failure, experts were called in emergency who temporarily arranged a transformer on rent to make it `work’. Experts have already said that `at least 2 transformers are required to run the plant.’ With capacity of 111 MLD and 50 MLD, it is handling more than 190 MLD. The plant was even closed by the contractors in the past days due to the non-payment and then re-started after a token amount was paid.
In August 2012, a committee under Mansa MLA Prem Mittal was formed on three plants but it has failed to submit its report to Vidhan Sabha till date. R K Verma, commissioner, MC, said: “We are trying our best but somehow full payment is not getting possible. Funds are pending from past so many years so slowly we are trying to cover all the dues.” He refused to give any reason for such fund scarcity.