Whenever the question of pollution level in Buddha Nullah is raised by activists, the authorities first of all start the process to shift the dairy units at Haibowal and Tajpur road to outside city limits. But till date the exercise has remained restricted to finding land where these units could be shifted. However, the dairy unit owners claimed that they want the government to provide modern dairy complexes and instead of shifting the existing units it will be better if new complex could be established with all required facilities.
For the past 10-12 years the shifting of dairy units has been going on, but except for locating a few sites in far-off villages the authorities could not do much in this regard. Some 10 years ago the authorities had located land in villages like Gorsian Kadar Baksh, Dhanansu and Khasi, but now even these villages are not that far from city. Still search is going on for a suitable piece of land where these units could be shifted because the dairy owners have demanded they should be shifted within 10 to 12 km radius of the city limits.
Another prominent demand this time is allowing the change of land use (CLU) for the existing units as most of the dairy farmers claimed that if they will be allowed for CLU, then many of them are ready to shift outside on their own. However, discussion over these issues is still going on as the state government had formed a committee, in which mayor Balkar Sandhu had been made the chairman, for a detailed report about shifting of dairy units.
The mayor said, “I am not aware what was done during the previous government’s time but since the day I have been made the chairman of this committee I have been holding meetings regularly. We have met the dairy farmers about their demands and we will submit the detailed report to the government for a final decision.”
However, president of Haibowal Dairy Farmers Association Paramjit Singh Bobby said, “Our dairy complex was fully functional in 1982 and every dairy farmer was allotted 500 sq yds, where 45 to 50 heads of cattle can be kept. But over the years the number of cattle increased by 70 to 75. It also created problems in handling the waste of cattle as well. So, shifting of dairy units is required.” He said the issue of locating sufficient land to shift the dairy units was a tough task.
Meanwhile, president of Tajpur Road Dairy Farmers Association DS Oberoi said, “Our dairy complex was established in 1983 and it is comparatively small as compared to Haibowal complex. We have been listening about shifting of units for a long time but nothing could be done on ground.” He said instead of shifting the existing units the government should plan new modern dairy farms, where younger generation could be encouraged to do dairy farming as it is not ready to carry forward this profession.
Setting up of CNG gas plant, ETPs on hold
There was proposal to set up a CNG gas plant at Tajpur road for the waste coming from dairy units and for that Punjab Energy Development Authority had started some process to float tenders as well. Similarly, under Buddha Nullah rejuvenation plan too the proposal to install effluent treatment plants for both dairy complexes was proposed. But after the process to shift dairy units was started these proposals seem to have been put on hold.
Dairy complex shifting linked to pollution
The shifting of dairy units has been linked directly to Buddha Nullah pollution because whenever the issue of the drain pollution gets highlighted the government becomes worried about shifting of dairy units as well. This time there is pressure of the National Green Tribunal to curb the pollution in water bodies, especially Buddha Nullah and Satluj. For this reason only a committee was formed and the mayor was made its chairman.