The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed to form a five-member committee to investigate the matter of coloured and chemical-laced water coming out of a tubewell in Sangrur district’s Aloarakh village and file a report in this regard.

The orders came after advocate HC Arora moved the tribunal seeking solution to the problem.

In the July 20 order, the NGT said, “We direct a five-member joint committee comprising officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) regional office; ministry of environment, forest and climate change; Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), a nominee of secretary environment department (Punjab), and the deputy commissioner, Sangrur, to visit the site and interact with the stakeholders, assess the ground situation and recommend the measures required to be taken.”

The tribunal said the committee may ascertain the number of tubewells discharging coloured water, depth of such wells, aquifer status in terms of movement and extent of contamination, characteristics of contaminated water with reference to effluent sludge disposed by industries, its effect on crops and agri products.

“It may suggest short- and long-term measures considering agronomy and public health, remediation plan, cost of such remediation,” it read.

Arora said the first meeting of the committee will be held within two weeks and the matter will come up for further hearing on November 12.

On July 8, a video of the tubewell went viral on social media and teams of the PPCB inspected the site and submitted a report to the state government.

The owner of the tubewell, Kulwinder Singh, said a private unit had polluted groundwater in the area. He said that the tubewell of his nephew was also throwing polluted water.

The PPCB officials had claimed that the factory was dismantled in 2005 and the department had taken up the matter with the NGT, which had imposed a fine of 2 crore on factory owners, who did not pay up.

Source: 23 July, 2021, Hindustan Times