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Scan on river pollution
- Monitor plan shot down

The state environment department has decided to constitute a cell within the state pollution control board and an independent committee to monitor pollution of the Hooghly, after the Centre shot down the proposal to form a separate authority for the purpose.

“Since the central government is not keen on a dedicated authority, we will soon form a cell under the pollution control board and a monitoring committee to control pollution of the Hooghly by various industrial units and municipalities,” environment secretary M.L. Meena told Metro on Friday.

The decision was taken at a recent meeting of the high court-appointed Hooghly pollution monitoring committee.

The state will request the Centre to financially support the cell, which will employ experts on contract, added the official. “The high-power monitoring committee will also have representatives from various departments.”

The state government had proposed to form a full-fledged authority to monitor pollution of the Hooghly but the Centre felt such a project would result in complications. Lalit Kapur, the additional director of the National River Conservation Directorate, conveyed the Centre’s stand at the meeting.

“If an authority can be created to save the Narmada, why can’t the same be done for the Hooghly?” asked a state official.

A senior official of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) wing of the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) admitted at the meeting that there is no list of civic sewage channels flowing into the river.

“It is unbelievable that despite spending hundreds of crores under the GAP project, the CMDA has neither identified major pollution sources nor stopped discharge of effluent from four major sources — Tolly’s Nullah, Nazirgunge outlet, Bally Khal and Maratha Ditch outlet — into the river,” said environment activist Subhas Dutta.

“The effluent are responsible for about 75 per cent of the pollution,” he added.

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