Cooperative effort

SEVEN entrepreneurs from chemical units at the Jeedimetla Industrial Estate (JIE) near Hyderabad have shown how effluent discharge can be collectively reduced. In 1987, they conceived the idea of a cooperative effluent treatment plant, and two years later, a one million-litres-a-day effluent treatment plant, was set up by Jeedimetla Effluent Treatment Limited (JETL) -- the company established to set up and operate the plant -- at a cost of Rs 1.8 crore.

Currently, 80 of the 600 units in the estate, which are among those the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has identified as heavy polluters, get their effluents treated for a nominal fee by JETL.

According to JETL managing director K V Lakshman Rao, as the rocky terrain precludes construction of a sewage system, effluents are collected by tankers and then analysed and processed.

JETL runs on a no-profit-no-loss basis, with users paying graded service charges (See table). A Central Pollution Control Board study shows that in 1991, receipts totalled Rs 2.95 lakh every month, while running expenses were Rs 2.65 lakh.

Treated effluents are now let out into the open, but JETL plans to lay a pipeline to take the treated effluents to the treatment plant of the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewage Board at Balanagar 9.5 km from the plant.