Two years after the KSPCB came down hard on the industry, it is being upheld as a model for effluent treatment

Two years ago, when the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board issued closure orders — even cutting off power supply — to 117 granite cutting and polishing industries in and around Jigani, the entire area was a mess.

After this censure, the industry got its act together and streamlined its effluent management process. Today, the KSPCB upholds this industry as a model for compliance with its norms.

Taking journalists on a trip through industries in Jigani, and to the two waste dumpsites where granite slurry is dumped — in Lakshmipura Bande and Bingipura — KSPCB officials showed how simply streamlining disposal has not only “solved” what was a pertinent health issue but also helped reclaim abandoned quarries.

For instance, after seeing the work done by associations, the local panchayat offered a few abandoned granite quarries to the industry. After slurry was dumped here in large quantities, it was covered up with fresh earth and soil, said KSPCB Chairperson Vaman Acharya.

Now, this reclaimed land is going to be used as sites for housing for the poor under the Ashraya Housing Scheme, he said. He added that soil tests have already been done and clearances are under way.

Earlier, units were dumping slurry in vacant government sites, renting agricultural land from farmers and in garbage dumping yards. A granite polishing unit owner said that since the officials dumping sites were opened, every month they are unloading eight to 10 loads there.

A KSPCB official explained that the entire process is streamlined, and a three-step token system indexes the incoming load from each association member.

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