GUWAHATI, March 28 � In an instance that exposes utter insensitivity of government authorities to the well-being of the environment, the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) has issued show-cause notice to the NF Railway over release of untreated toxic effluents from its New Guwahati Loco Shed directly to public/municipality drains which ultimately flows into the Bharalu river.
The developments also grossly violate Section 24, 25 and 32 of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act and Rules framed under the Act by the Government of Assam.
Asking the NFR to stop discharging toxic effluents to the Bharalu with immediate effect, PCBA directed it to install oil traps in sufficient numbers at the outlet of all the four bays to arrest floating oils. It was also asked to install an effluent treatment plant connecting all the outlet of the Loco Shed.
The PCBA warned that non-compliance to the directive would result in �imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year and six months but which may extend to six years and with fine.�
During an inspection in the New Guwahati Diesel Shed (Loco Shed) of NFR by PCBA on February 11, it found that the NFR authorities were not using any proper preventive devices or measures for treatment of the effluent in the shed. The effluent treatment plant was found to be completely out of order and inefficient to deal with the present problems, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
�As a consequent of regular discharge of oil, of petrol, diesel, grease, etc., and other poisonous, noxious and polluting matter, the aquatic flora & fauna of river Bharalu have vanished and its DO level has gone down to almost zero and BOD level has crossed over 75mg/l. In spite of being in operation for such a long time and being a responsible government department, you have failed to comply with the basic provision of the above mentioned Act,� PCBA observed in its show-cause.
The show-cause which was addressed to the Chief Mechanical Engineer, NFR, also called for initiating the �Bio remediation� process for oily sludge already accumulated in the Loco Shed. The parameters to be measures should be pH, BOD, oil and grease, suspended solids, hazardous wastes, etc.
The NFR was further asked to obtain authorization for generating and handling of �Hazardous Wastes� as per Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling & Trans boundary Movement) Rules, 2008; to install an online effluent quality monitoring system at the outlet of ETP; to connect and upload the online effluent monitoring data of PCBA server in a time-bound manner; to ensure regular maintenance and operation of the online system with a temper-proof mechanism having facilities for online calibration; and to submit bank guarantee of Rs 50 lakh within 15 days for ensuring timely installation of above within three months from the date of issuance of the letter.
Copies of the show-cause were also sent to the Principal Secretary to the Govt of Assam, Department of Environment & Forests, the General Manager, NF Railway, Maligaon, the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (M), and the Chief Secretary, Govt of Assam.