Demanding that dairy units be moved out of municipal corporation limits to check pollution of the Buddha Nullah and the Sutlej river, members of civil society organisations and NGOs staged a protest near the Tajpur road dairy complex in the pouring rain on Saturday.
This was the third protest under the ‘Freedom From Pollution’ movement. The protesters, under the banner of the Public Action Committee (PAC), asked why crores were being spent on establishing effluent treatment plants (ETPs) for treating dairy waste, when the MC has to shift the dairy units sooner or later.
PAC member Col CM Lakhanpal said, “A significant amount of pollutants entering the nullah are from dairy units. As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines, no dairy unit is allowed to operate within city limits. Secondly, dairy farms cannot be located in flood prone areas and cannot be within 500m of a river. The dairy complexes on Tajpur Road and Haibowal are in violation of these norms. The government will have to shift these units out of the city limits.”
Jaskirat Singh of the Naroa Punjab Manch said, “Senior officials working on the project to clean the nullah have clearly said that the problem cannot be resolved until dairy units are shifted. The government had also agreed to shift the units, but now ETPs are being established on the site under the ₹650-crore project to clean the nullah. If the government has to ultimately shift the units, then why is public money being wasted?”
Dr Amandeep Bains of RBS Roots said no environmental scientist had been involved in the project to clean the nullah, which indicates the authorities’ sincerity.
Kuldeep Singh Khaira of Vigilant Citizens Forum said, “The government seems to be taking decisions based on political calculations rather than for the welfare of the city. Instead of solving the problem, it is complicating things by taking contradictory decisions such as shifting dairies and building ETPs at the same time.”