Upgrade effluent disposal at Leather Complex, court tells contractor

Expressing dissatisfaction over the delay in upgrading the effluent treatment facility at the Leather Complex here, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued directions to the contractor for the job, M/s Ramky Infrastructure Limited, to arrange for the necessary repairs at the earliest and submit an action taken report in a month.

The court of Judges Surya Kant and Raj Mohan Singh has been monitoring the disposal of sludge and other required treatment-related facilities at the Leather Complex. In its recent orders, the court has asked the contractor for the work to arrange the requirement equipment for repair and upgrade of the treatment plant and submit an action taken report by way of an affidavit on the next date of hearing, fixed for February 12.

As the vice -president of the company, Bobby Kurien, appeared in the court at the last hearing on January 8, the court observed, “Yesterday only, he submitted a plan of activities which has been appended by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the interim committee with his status report. We are not satisfied with the time schedule suggested by M/S Ramky Infrastructure. Vigilance Officer GS Majithia (Chief Environmental Engineer of Punjab Pollution Control Board) has agreed to revisit the time schedule given by the company and to suggest the minimum time that may actually be required for it.”

It further said, “After taking some of the effective steps for the smooth functioning of the plant, the company shall be at liberty to give details of its due payments in the status report to be submitted to the court.”

After the DC-cum-chairman of the interim committee KK Yadav had filed a status report in the court indicating that the tannery owners have started removing the sludge, the court ordered that they should continue to do so on a regular basis. The court also said that two filter presses should be installed under the supervision of the Vigilance Officer as soon as these are made available.

A suggestion of the Vigilance Officer in his status report has been considered quite useful by the court. The officer had said that the interim committee could be directed to devise a mechanism to quantify sludge generated and disposed of at the CETP site by an individual tanner member so that it could be documented and regulated to ensure environmentally sound disposal of sludge. The court pronounced, “The interim committee is directed to do so in association with the scientists of the Central Leather Research Institute, who is already one of its member.”

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