Action plan for rejuvenation of ponds, Punjab, 31/03/2020

Action plan for rejuvenation of ponds by the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, government of Punjab dated March 31, 2020.

The action plan was in pursuance to the NGT order of May 10, 2019, directing all states and Union Territories to review the existing framework of restoration of all the water bodies by preparing an appropriate action plan. A total 15,466 rural and 249 urban ponds have been identified in the state by Department of Rural Development & Panchyats (DRDP) and Department of Local Government, respectively. However, in the absence of any treatment facility for scientific disposal of sullage, most ponds in Punjab have become prominent disposal points for wastewater, the report informed the NGT.

The Department of Environment had prepared time bound comprehensive Action Plans in consultation with various stakeholder departments for abatement of pollution in river Sutlej, Beas and Ghaggar. The Action Plans aims to achieve "Class B" river water quality (i.e. BOD <3 mg/l and FC< 500 MPN/100 ml), which was fit for bathing purposes.

One of the key features of Action Plans was setting up treatment facilities in 800 villages located in the catchment areas of rivers by Department of Rural Development & Panchayats. The villages having direct discharge (424) into the river are being taken on priority basis for setting up treatment facilities.

The report also mentioned the various initiatives taken by the state, which included development of 343 village ponds by using various technologies and convincing the farmers to use pond water for irrigation by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats. Likewise, around 12000 village ponds were cleaned under a special campaign of Mission Tandrust, Punjab in June, 2019 (before monsoon) with a view to improve the village hygiene.