The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Forests, headed by Congress MP from Punjab Ashwani Kumar, has raised concerns on pollution in Ludhiana and Amritsar and recommended ameliorative measures.

In its report submitted to Parliament, the committee highlighted the government’s apathy even though the Central Pollution Control Board had identified it as one of the most critically polluted clusters in the country with the score of 81.66 on the “Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index” in 2009. During its study of pollution levels in “Tier-II cities”, the committee had visited Ludhiana and Amritsar from February 13 to 15.

In Ludhiana, it zeroed in on 51-km-long Buddha Nullah. About 14 km stretch of the open nullah is located in the city. “Once the precious asset to the city of Ludhiana, the Buddha Nullah has become a curse, posing serious health hazard to the public,” the report said. During the visit, the committee’s attention was drawn to Haibowal Dairy Complex which houses 550 dairies — the biggest source of pollution of the nullah.

It has suggested to the authorities to explore the viability of covering the stretch passing through the city by constructing a road over it. This would also prevent the dumping of garbage into it.

In Amritsar, it recommended the disposal of solid waste in an environmentally sound manner, plying of CNG auto-rickshaws, shifting of cremation ground from within the city and implementation of rain-water harvesting projects to conserve water among other measures.

Source: 23 July, 2015, The Tribune