Sewage of housing projects ending up on farmland at 3 Mohali villages


Mohali, February 23

Residents of Rani Majra, Togan and Palheri villages are a harassed lot as sewage from nearby housing societies is being discharged in open areas, seasonal rivulets and fields, leading to contamination of water sources used for agricultural works. Foul smell keeps emanating from open areas near the villages posing health hazards to villagers.

Residents of these villages complained that upscale housing societies developed by big real estate firms had either not made any provision for treatment of sewage or it was clearly not effective. They demanded that the Punjab Pollution Control Board should regularly check violations and take appropriate action against the firms polluting the pristine village environment.

Rani Majra sarpanch Laabh Singh said, “Dirty water is being discharged in a seasonal rivulet. This untreated water is then entering our fields. When we request to make arrangements for disposal of the village sewage, we are told that untreated water cannot be allowed to end up in the rainwater line.”

The villages fall in a belt where agriculture is the primary source of income of residents with vegetables being their major produce. Residents said the sewage coming from the housing societies entering the fields was visible from the New Chandigarh-New Sunny Enclave, Kharar, road but the pollution control board and the Municipal Council, Kharar, officials continued to turn a blind eye to the violation.

Kulwinder Singh, sarpanch of Palheri village, said, “Foul smell continues to emanate from the sewage and has made our life miserable. This water is entering our fields where vegetables are grown.”

Rani Majra resident Makhan Singh, 53, said, “The stagnating water is eating away our agricultural land and making it fallow. You can see large tracts of land not tilled for years.”

Most of the farmers either use rivulets or tubewells for irrigation of their agricultural land, but both sources are contaminated with sewage in these areas. “The vegetables grown here make it to the Sector 26 market in Chandigarh and other nearby mandis,” they said.

Officials said the disposal of sewage had been an issue here despite a line laid here sometime back. “A part of the land is under litigation where the line is yet to be laid and joined with the main line,” they said.

Another major issue dogging these villages is that panchayats do not have enough funds to set up their own STPs and discharge the sewage in the main line even as the pollution control board guidelines do not allow disposal of untreated water.

Pollution board notice to JTPL

The Punjab Pollution Control Board issued a show cause notice to M/s JTPL Townships Private Limited, Sector 115, Kharar, to explain their position regarding sewage disposal and other irregularities. In a notice issued on February 3, the PPCB had noted that a complaint was received regarding non-functional sewage water disposal system and untreated domestic effluent being disposed of in a green area and into a pond with the help of a tanker. PPCB officials visited the site on December 29 and noted that the township, spread on 75 acre with 500 families living there, had a non-functional STP. The water sample collected from the tank had effluent beyond the permissible limit. TNS