LAHORE – Lahore Division Commissioner Jawad Rafique Malik has directed the Sundar Industrial Estate (SIE) to install a combined wastewater treatment plant for its industrial units on urgent basis.

A committee headed by the commissioner was constituted on the directives of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to suggest an immediate solution to SIE wastewater being discharged directly into Rohi and Hadyara drains.

The residents of the Nehla village complained to the chief minister that before the establishment of the SIE, their sewage was being discharged into Rohi drain, but after that they blocked their linking drain to the Rohi drain and now the entire sewage of their village was accumulated on its premises.

Deputy District Officer (Environment) Younas Zahid informed the meeting that 203 units were operational in the SIE, of which only one had installed its individual treatment plant. He further said the SIE had blocked the sewage line of the Nehla village some years ago because of which the municipal sewage of the village was accumulated in the area. A one kilometre long drain was also constructed with an MNA grant, but the SIE did not allow the drain to enter its limits.

The residents of rural areas adjacent to the SIE had complained to the chief minister that the estate was directly discharging its waste into the Rohi drain and had also blocked the municipal sewage of their villages.

SIE Finance Secretary Mian Ijaz Rasool told the meeting that the Punjab government had promised to provide funds for the installation of the combined treatment plant for the SIE and its PC-1 was also approved with a grant of Rs298 million, but later it was postponed because the size of required funds was increased to Rs840 million. However, P&D and Industries departments officials said that no documents were available with their department regarding these grants.

“The SIE does not have the capacity to install the combined treatment plant by investing such a huge amount on its own and it is contacting foreign investors in this regard,” Rasool added.

Speaking on the occasion, Shafqat Ullah said he had submitted two suggestions to the SIE, one short term and the other long term. He said a Dutch government grant was available for infrastructure development. “We are trying our level best to avail this grant, so that the combined treatment plant could be installed,” he added.

Environment Secretary Saeed Iqbal Wahlah admitted that the installation of the combined treatment plant was not an easy task in a short time, but the SIE industrial units must install their own individual treatment plants. He said a joint team comprising SIE and Environment Protection Agency (EPA) representatives would conduct a survey of the SIE and would point out the units that should have their own individual treatment plants.

EPA Director General Maqsood Ahmed Lakh, SIE Board of Management Estate Manager Athar Habib, PIDMC Manager Numan Rafique, SIE Secretary Finance Saadia Imam, PIMDC Environment Officer Dr Muhammad Javed, Irrigation Department’s Muhammad Shahid, P&C Director Javed Iqbal, Economic Advisor to Punjab Industries Department and EIA Director Naseemur Rehman Shah also attended the meeting.