LUCKNOW: Ending a shutdown of around seven months, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to allow all tanneries following NGT norms to carry out operations in Kanpur and Unnao.
The government has also decided to set up a separate 20 MLD waste treatment plant at Jajmau in Kanpur to ensure that the tannery waste is not released directly into the Ganga.
According to Kanpur District authorities including DM Vijay Vishwas Pant, the state government had cleared a project worth Rs 617 crore to check the release of tannery waste into the Ganga. Of the total amount sanctioned, Rs 480 crore would be used to set up a 20 MLD treatment plant while the remaining would be used for the maintenance of the plant, the DM said.
In fact, the state government had ordered the closure of over 260 tanneries situated on the banks of the Ganga in November 2018 just ahead of the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela-2019 to check the level of pollution in the river.
In due course, the ban had to be lifted in March but the government continued it, leading to not only a huge loss of revenue to the owners but also rendering many workers jobless.
Even the crackdown on cow slaughter affected the supply of raw material to the units, spelling doom for the manufacturing of leather in adjoining Unnao and Banthara.
Notably, on May 29, 2019, the NGT had ordered the closure of 78 tanneries located in Unnao and Banthara. The NGT passed the order on a report submitted to it by a team of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and UPPCB.
According to UP Pollution Control Board officials, as many as 106 tanneries are operating in Banthara and Unnao. The team had earlier collected samples from the tanneries from May 20 to 24 and found that they were flouting pollution control norms.
Earlier, CM Yogi had constituted a high-powered committee to examine if the waste from tanneries was being discharged directly into the river. The committee had to examine if the tanneries were following the standards fixed by UPPCB and the recommendations of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to check river pollution.
The special committee headed by state industry minister and Kanpur MLA Satish Mahana recommended the opening of Kanpur tanneries which were following the anti-pollution norms.
Kanpur DM said a special purpose vehicle (SPV) was in place and the process of setting up a separate treatment plant was on.
The land for the treatment plant would be made available by the UP Jal Nigam to Jajmau Tannery Effluent Treatment Association, said the DM who is also the chairman of the SPV.
The first meeting of the SPV was held on Monday in which senior officers of the district administration and office-bearers of tanneries’ associations, including Firoz Alam and Hafizur Rehman, were present. The company likely to set up the treatment plant will give a presentation of the detailed project report (DPR) to the chairman and directors next week.
The DM said the treatment plant would be set up conforming to the standards of UPPCB to ensure that there were least chances of shutting the tanneries, while the pollution levels of the Ganga could also be kept in check.