Brief Profile of Industry: Ludhiana is the heart of industrial development in Punjab. It has a strong cotton and woollen spinning sector and home for thousands of MSMEs making cotton and woollen knitwear, maintaining the top position in woollen knitwear for decades. Ludhiana is also a major producer of cycles and cycle parts, diesel engines and other engineering products like fasteners, machine tools and general machinery, hand tools, auto parts, knitting and sewing machines and food products.
Background of BMO: Chamber of Commercial and Industrial Undertaking (CICU), an industry association was promoted in 1968 and registered as a Society in 1972. It has more than 1000 members drawn from industry and trade. Besides routine activities like organizing seminars and workshops and doing effective advocacy as a leading BMO in the state, it has also been organizing mega job fairs, buyer-seller meets, participation in trade fairs abroad B2B meets etc. It has also created Young Business Leaders Forum (YBLF) to inspire and motivate youngsters to become entrepreneurs through a number of EDPs, mentoring and plant visits and linkages with large scale enterprises to promote ancillary enterprises.
Developing Responsible Business Activity: Over the years, the Buddha Nallah canal passing through Ludhiana has been highly polluted due to disposal of both municipal as well as industrial waste in it from various places. One of the major reasons for discharge of industrial effluents into the canal was diverting effluents in the canal instead of sending to Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) to reduce cost of processing. Buddha Nallah firstly pollutes River Sutlej, 20 kms from Ludhiana, while entering and then River Beas and also at the convergence of both the rivers at Hari-ke-Pattan.
This highly polluted water is carried forward for agriculture and drinking purposes in the downstream areas of Punjab & Rajasthan. The leads to severe damage of agriculture and non-availability of clean drinking water for the mass living in close proximity to this source of water.
CICU was concerned about the environmental degradation caused by industrial and domestic pollution and decided to make concerted efforts to check discharge of industrial effluents into Budda Nallah.
Implementation and Sustainability: CICU formed a ‘Green Committee’ with a mandate to take all possible measures to contain pollution of Buddha Nallah. The members of the Committee consisted of industry and trade leaders, public and environmental specialists who met every Saturday to monitor and guide the initiatives launched for protecting Buddha Nallah from pollution. The steps taken were:
- A video presentation was prepared depicting the disastrous consequences of polluting Buddha Nallah by industries in Ludhiana.
- The video was presented at many industrial and commercial undertakings and organizations as well as general public in Ludhiana and nearby areas to make them aware about the environmental degradation that the industries and causing and its harmful impact on the local community using this source of water.
- Since October 2012, regular seminars are being held in every 1-1.5 months to create awareness among industries about ill effects of this polluting river.
- 3 training sessions has been held for foreman, plant operators of surface coating industries, which are major polluter of heavy metals.
Beneficiaries and Benefits: As a result of this vigorous campaign by the Green Committee, most of the industries are now sending the effluents to the CETPs and hence there has been substantial reduction in the flow of effluents in the Nallah. The real beneficiaries are the agriculturists and common people in the downstream areas of Sutlej and Beas rivers.