Most of the units are on the banks of the rivers and they are yet to set up sewage treatment plants.

The West Bengal environment department has taken action against 85 industrial units in the State for disposing the sewage coming out of these units into the rivers, including the Hooghly.

Environment Minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar told The Hindu here on Monday that a public hearing was conducted on 119 companies against which complaints of polluting the rivers had been received.

“Of the 85 companies, 18 have been closed down, on 11, pollution cost has been imposed, and 56 have been asked to provide bank guarantee,” Mr. Dastidar said. The action was taken against the companies between April 2013 and April 2014.

The Minister said the complaints against the industrial units polluting rivers had been received from across the State and the department had been emphasising on public hearing. Most of the units are on the banks of the rivers and they are yet to set up sewage treatment plants.

Mr. Dastidar said while the Ministry of Environment and Forest had their own laboratories to check the quality of river water, the State government was setting up its own labs.

Immersions of idols

Congress MLA Asit Mitra raised the issue of pollution of the Hooghly owing to the immersion of idols painted with colours containing heavy metal, particularly lead, during Durga Puja. The Minister said a lot of work had been done to create awareness among artisans of using lead-free paints. “We have organised workshops. Certain companies have come forward to develop lead-free paints,” Mr. Dastidar said.

The Congress legislator told the correspondent that river pollution was turning out to be a serious issue and affecting public health.

Walkout

Earlier in the day, legislators of the Left Front staged a walkout from the Assembly when an adjournment motion seeking discussion on law and order situation was disallowed by Speaker Biman Banerjee.

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