CLEANING OF THE RIVERS OF THE STATE OF PUNJAB
The word Punjab is a combination of the Indo-Iranian words panj (five) and āb (water), thus is called the (land of) five rivers. The five rivers are the Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The name is also sometimes spelt as Panjab or Panjaab or Punjaab. In the year 1947, after the partition of India, the Punjab province of British India was divided between India and Pakistan. Now, the rivers namely Ravi, Beas and Sutlej are flowing in the State of Punjab. The Indian Punjab was further divided in 1966 with the formation of the new States of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh as well as the current State of Punjab. Now, the State of Punjab is bordered by States namely Himachal Pradesh; J&K; U.T. Chandigarh; Haryana and Rajasthan as well as the International Boundary of Pakistani province of Punjab. The Capital of the State of Punjab is Chandigarh, which is administered separately as Union Territory because it is also the Capital of the Haryana. At present, there are 20 districts in the State of Punjab.
The State of Punjab is leading rich in agriculture sector and it is the largest producer of wheat and is called the wheat bowl of India. Other major industries that exist in the State are of engineering goods, textile and dyeing industries, sewing machines & their parts, sports goods, bicycle industries, garments, tanneries and sugar industries etc. Punjab also has the largest number of Steel Rolling Mills and Induction Furnaces, which are located in Mandi Gobindgarh, District Fatehgarh Sahib and is known as Steel Town.
The rapid industrialization, urbanization and non sustainable development have led to the establishment of number of industries/ commercial complexes which in turn has aggravated the cause of water pollution in the State which now has become graver during the past few years. The wastewater generated from the urban areas, industries and different commercial activities is discharged into rivers, streams and drains resulting into pollution of the river system of the State. The pollution potential in the riverine system of the State has increased, which has not only degraded the quality of water of these rivers, which is used for irrigation as well as for drinking purposes, but also has affected the flora & fauna. The ecology of the system has been degraded a lot which has also disturbed and imbalanced the natural equilibrium between the living the non-living components of the environment. Thus, it is quite indispensable that this equilibrium must be maintained by adopting an ecological system approach to the pollution control and re-used mechanism. The various pollutants entering into eco-system through wastewater may be bio-degradable, non-biodegradable and biologically accumulative.
Today, the waters of our major rivers namely River Sutlej, Beas and Ghaggar have been contaminated to the level that these are required to be restored to maintain the quality of water to such an extent that the water of these rivers can be used for irrigation and drinking purposes without any ill effects on the land / crops and inhabitants of the area.
2.1 Need for Cleaning of Rivers
With the growth of industrialization and urbanization, many industrial units, commercial organizations and residential complexes including population growth in rural areas, have came up. The wastewater generated from most of these activities is discharged into water bodies of the State. Thus, there is tremendous increase in the level of pollution in the Rivers of the State. Besides, presently, most of the major towns of the States are located on the catchment area of river systems of the State. Most of the towns are discharging their wastewater directly/ indirectly into river Sutlej, Beas and Ghaggar. The water of River Sutlej and Beas is used for irrigation as well as drinking purposes in the South Western districts of the State. There were persistent complaints from the public regarding pollution in River Sutlej and subsequently in Sirhind Feeder Canal and Rajasthan Feeder Canal. In a meeting taken at the highest level, it was observed that highly contaminated sewage and industrial effluent is being discharged into River Sutlej at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Phillaur and Phagwara, causing heavy pollution in State water bodies which is mainly due to the discharge of various drains/ Nallah including Budha Nallah. The various meetings at the level of Govt. under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Chief Minister, Punjab, Chief Secretary, Punjab were held in the year 2008 and the various departments were asked to take steps to control pollution of major river systems. Simultaneously, with a view to ensure the cleanliness and upkeep of natural drain of Budha Nallah, Govt. had constituted a separate committee under the headship of Sh. P.Ram, IAS coordinator of the project namely “Cleaning of Budha Nallah”. CWPs no. 7036 of 2005 and no. 13881 of 2006 with title, Court on its own motion V/s State of Punjab regarding cleaning of Budha Nallah which are pending with the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court. The progress regarding cleaning of Budha Nallah and subsequently River Sutlej is also being monitored by the Hon’ble High Court and State Govt. from time to time. Consequently, in the month of August 2008, there was a News item regarding pollution in Sirhind canal and Hon’ble Chief Minister, Punjab took a meeting with the highest level officers and asked the Chief Secretary, Punjab to constitute a high level committee to check the pollution in major river system and canal systems of the State to identity the sources of pollution in these river systems and determine the measures to be taken to check or eliminate the sources of pollution so identified. Therefore, the Govt. of Punjab, Department of Irrigation constituted a technical group of the officers of various departments vide its office order no. 1/158/08-IW (5)/14087 dated 14/8/2008 to identify sources of pollution of major river system of the State namely Sutlej, Ravi, Beas and Ghaggar and various canal systems originating there from and determine the measures required to be taken to effectively check a pollution.
Initiative of Punjab Pollution Control Board & State Government to clean the Rivers namely Sutlej and Beas