Chandigarh, May 24 (PTI) Noted environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal today sought appropriate action against a sugar mill for the alleged spillage of molasses into the Beas river in Punjab that killed a large number of fish besides damaging the aquatic ecosystem. Also Read - CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exams 2021: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Urges Centre to Postpone Exams
Seechewal made the demand a day after a probe committee found violation of norms related to the storage of molasses by the sugar mill. Also Read - Punjab Imposes Night Curfew Across State From 9 PM to 5 AM Till April 30, Bans Political Gatherings
The 56-year-old environmentalist also sought legal and penal action against factories in Ludhiana and Jalandhar for discharging industrial effluents in the Sutlej river. Also Read - Centre Urges Govt Employees Above 45 to Get Vaccine Jabs as Coronavirus Cases Peak
Seechewal, who is also known as Eco Baba, was accredited with the rejuvenation of Kali Bein, a 160-km rivulet located in Doaba region, which had turned into to a “filthy drain” because of effluents.
“Action should be taken against the sugar mill for the violation and compensation should be sought from the mill for the death of large number of fish in Beas,” Seechewal told PTI today.
If the stipulated parameters were not followed by the sugar mill, then definitely action taken as per the law, he said.
A large number of fish were found dead in Beas on May 17 after molasses from a sugar mill reportedly leaked into the river in Punjab’s Beas town, about 40 km from Amritsar.
The leakage also contaminated the canal-based water used by people in Muktsar, Faridkot and Fazilka districts for drinking purposes.
Mixing of molasses with water, it is suspected, had led to the reduction of oxygen level in river, thus killing tonnes of fish and destroying aquatic ecosystem in Beas. The sugar mill reportedly had termed this incident as an accident.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) yesterday issued a notice to the Chadha sugar mill over the molasses leakage incident, seeking its reply on why action should not be initiated for the alleged violations detected by the probe committee.
Yesterday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh warned against any laxity or leniency in the matter.
Opposition parties including SAD had accused Congress led government of protecting the owner of sugarmill.
Seechewal, who is Padma Shri awardee, also expressed concern over the rampant discharge of industrial effluents and untreated waste into the Sutlej.
“Industry in Ludhiana and Jalandhar is releasing dangerous industrial effluents into the river and it has been happening despite the matter being raised with concerned authorities time and again,” said Seechewal.
Besides, sewage by some municipal committees was also being discharged into the river, he said.
“Release of effluents into Sutlej river is dangerous and it is also one of the reasons for the growing number of cancer cases in the state,” he emphasised.
Seechewal has also earned accolades for developing an underground low cost sewerage system that collects sewage water from ponds and treats it in a natural way and this water is then used for irrigation.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.