The  High Court of Punjab and Haryana has ordered the shutting down  of all the tanneries in Jalandhar’s Leather Complex. The bench made it clear that the directions would remain in force till further orders and conformity to the Environment (Protection) Rules and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.

The bench made Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner personally liable to implement the order.  It also directed the Jalandhar Commissioner of Police to render police assistance to Punjab Pollution Control Board’s regional office to close all leather tanneries.

“The fact of the matter is that prima-facie neither the leather tanneries nor the common effluent treatment plant outlet is conforming to the norms laid down. The non-conforming to the norms as per Schedule-1 (16) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, by the leather tanneries and also by the CETP has further polluted the water stream called Kala Sanghian,” the Bench maintained.

The directions came on an appeal filed by Punjab Effluent Treatment Society for Tanneries and other petitioners against M/s Punjab Leather Federation and other respondents. The bench observed that G.S. Majithia, Chief Environmental Engineer, Punjab Pollution Control Board, when confronted, submitted that the leather tanneries were not conforming to the norms/guidelines prescribed under Environment (Protection) Act and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Common Effluent Treatment Plant outlet, too, was also not conforming to law.

The bench also referred to a report placed on record by the State Government. “The tanneries do not conform to the norms laid down even as per this report,” it added.

Continuing with its efforts aimed at getting Kala Sanghian drain in Jalandhar cleaned, a Division Bench had in the past directed the holding of a combined meeting between authorities of Sewerage Disposal Board, PSIEC Chief Engineer and Joint Commissioner of Jalandhar Municipal Council.

The bench had directed the meeting should be held for finalising a mechanism “so that industrial discharge and discharge from the tanneries can also be put after some preliminary treatment into the sewerage line”.

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