“Electroplating refers to coating metal with nickel to give it a refined look and to prevent the metal from rusting. Ludhiana’s electroplating industry coats auto parts. There are about 500 units in the city today, while the number of units was almost double about five years ago,” said Jasmeet Singh, a Ludhiana based industrialist who runs Singh Electroplaters.
“One of the reasons for the decline of the industry is a crackdown by the state’s pollution control board on polluting industries, which would dischare hazardous chemicals that would eventually find its way into the food chain. Industrialists were left with two choices – comply with the Punjab Pollution Control Board’s (PPCB) norms or shutdown their units,” said Sumeet Pal Singh, another industrialist who has been running an electroplating industry – he runs CHG Electroplating Industries -- for 25 years.
“The pollution control board is also taking strict measures against those industrialists who are not following norms set by the board. The reason why some medium and small industrialists do not treat industrial waste water is because they cannot afford to do so”, sumeet pal sing said.
“PPCB charges about Rs0.75 per litre of discharged water. And the units discharge hundreds of litres of water every day. It has become costly for us to operate our units,” said Surinder Chopra, another industrialist who runs Aman Electroplating Industry.
“Secondly, the increase in the prices of nickel and investments into the newer technology of powder coating of nickel has left many small to midsize industrialsts with very little money,” said Chopra.
“I have shut down the electroplating unit and now deal in auto parts. It had become difficult to operate the unit so I switched my line of work,” said Ashok Kumar, a Ludhiana-based industrialist.
“We send our vehicles to collect waste water from the industries and then we send it the same to the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) plant installed at the Focal Point area in the city. We are taking these measures in an attempt to clean the Sutlej River, already polluted with waste water,” said a PPCB official, based in Ludhiana, seeking anonymity.