Chandigarh, May 23 (PTI) Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today issued a notice to Chadha sugar mill in molasses leakage incident, seeking its reply on why action should not be initiated against it for the alleged violations detected by the probe committee. Also Read - Sad Day For Democracy, Says Kejriwal After Rajya Sabha Passes GNCTD Bill; AAP Likely to Move Supreme Court Today

A large number of fish were found dead in Beas on May 17 after molasses from the sugar factory leaked into the river in Punjab’s Beas town, about 40 km from the Amritsar. Also Read - Somnath Bharati Taken Into Custody as Delhi Court Upholds His Conviction In AIIMS Staff Assault Case | Case Details Here

“Notice has been issued to the Chadha Sugar mill, Kiri Afghana in Gurdaspur to seek the reply of its representatives on the findings of the probe committee report which found violations,” a senior official said here today. Also Read - Inspired by Concept of Ram Rajya, Kejriwal Announces Free Visit For Elderly to Ram Temple

The sugar mill representatives have been asked to appear before the PPCB authorities tomorrow for giving their reply, the official further said.

A probe committee, which submitted its report to the state government yesterday, found violation in the storage of molasses, a byproduct in sugarcane processing, at the factory.

“There was a violation pertaining to the storage of molasses as the storage arrangements were not found to be as per rules,” official said while highlighting the major violation found by the probe committee.

The committee had a mandate to investigate how and why this incident happened and what were the deficiencies and what action proposed to be taken to prevent such incidents in future.

Following the molasses spill, the state government had already sealed the mill and seized its security deposit of Rs 25 lakh.

The mill may also face action for contaminating the canal-based water under the northern India Canal Draining Act, the official added.

A state government official said that following the molasses leakage, the main priority of the government was to ensure potable drinking water to people living in Faridkot, Muktsar and Fazilka districts where the water supply was canal based.

People were asked not to use canal based water which was contaminated because of the leakage and inlets of reservoirs were also closed, the official said.

Contaminated water with dead fish and snakes had also entered into Rajasthan through Indira Gandhi canal from Punjab, prompting the authorities to stop drinking water supply from the canal as a precautionary measure.

The Indira Gandhi canal supplies water to Hanumangarh, Sriganganagar, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and other districts in north and western region of the desert state.

Mixing of molasses with water led to the reduction of oxygen level in Beas river, thus killing tones of fish and destroying aquatic ecosystem in Beas. However, the sugar mill reportedly had termed this incident as an accident.

As many as eight to ten varieties of fish including cat fish, common carp died because of low level of oxygen in the river.

Meanwhile, another 1,000 cusecs of water will again be released from the Pong dam into the Beas river to flush out the contaminated water from the canals, the official said. Already more than 2,000 cusecs of water had already been released in Beas.

With opposition SAD and AAP lashing out at the Congress led government for allegedly “protecting” the owner of the sugar mill, Punjab Governor and Administrator UT Chandigarh, V P Singh Badnore had already expressed concern over the contamination of river water and had sought full details of the extent of contamination and damage done to the environment from the state government.

The mill belonged to Jasdeep Kaur Chadha, daughter of former Delhi Gurdwara Sikh Parbandhak Committee chief Harvinder Singh Sarna.

Jasdeep’s late husband Hardeep Singh Chadha was the brother of liquor baron late Ponty Chadha.PTI CHS VSD RCJ RCJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.