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Officials verify closure of eighty polluting tanneries

Times of India – 18th December, 2012

By Faiz Rahman Siddiqui

KANPUR: With an aim to make sacred river Ganga pollution-free during Maha Kumbh-2013, seven teams comprising of officials of the district administration and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), inspected around 80 tanneries that were shut down in compliance of the high court order in Jajmau area of the industrial city here on Monday.

Following the district magistrate’s directive for strict compliance of the HC ruling on closure of polluting units, the teams inspected 80 such units and disconnected the water and power supply of several units that were found functional in violation of the law. According to UPPCB authorities, these are the same industrial units which don’t have the facility of ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant) and were shut down following the district magistrate’s order.

The Maha-Kumbh will be held between January 14 and March 25, 2013 and millions of people from all over the nation and the world are expected to gather at Allahabad to take a holy dip at Sangam on the occasion.

The seven teams comprising of UPPCB officials, ACMs and circle officers, besides officials of KESCO and Jal Nigam will submit a report on a regular basis to DM MP Agarwal on the status of these industries. The district administration has also roped in members of the tannery associations for identification of such units as they are believed to have better knowledge of the locality, a UPPCB official said.

Pollution Control Board’s regional officer Radhey Shyam said, “We have shut down 80 of the total 403 tanneries not equipped with the ETP facility. In the absence of appropriate waste-water drainage and collection systems, these units were causing serious environmental, health and hygiene problems.”

UPPCB has been facing the wrath of the court for not taking adequate steps to curb ever-increasing pollution level in the Ganga. Recently, the high court had directed the state government to “initiate appropriate action against the polluting industries that are not complying with the prescribed standards”.

The city has more than 400 tanneries and there are many units not equipped with proper infrastructure, which only account for a major portion of untreated sewage flowing into the river.

Meanwhile, Hafizurrahman Babu Bhai, president of Jajmau Small Tannery Association, said, “We would meet UPPCB chairman tomorrow in this regard and request him to suggest better alternatives to make Ganga pollution-free.”The sewage treatment plant of 36 million litres per day capacity was set up in Jajmau exclusively to deal with tannery sewage. It may also be mentioned here that the leather industry generates an estimated Rs 2,000 crore of sales a year.

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