Chandigarh, May 24 (PTI) The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB)today imposed a fine of Rs five crore on the Chadha sugar mill from where molasses leaked into Beas river, causing massive damage to aquatic life. Also Read - 355th Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti Today | Know All About 10th Guru of Sikhs, His Teachings Here

The mill would also remain sealed unless all the pollution control measures are taken. Also Read - Mirzapur Live: Robber Shot Dead in Police Encounter at Marriage Hall in Punjab's Tarn Taran, 4 Nabbed

PPCB Chairman K S Pannu found the management of the mill was “negligent”. He ordered prosecution against the mill and filing of criminal complaint against the persons responsible for the offence. Also Read - Public, Private Universities in Punjab to Reopen From Jan 21, Govt Issues SOPs | Details Here

The order came after the board heard the reply of sugar mill representatives in Patiala in response to the notice issued for the alleged violation found by a probe committee.

A large number of fish were found dead in Beas river on May 17 after molasses from the sugar factory leaked into the river in Punjab’s Beas town, about 40 km from the Amritsar.

In the order, PPCB Chairman K S Pannu said, “After hearing, the matter in detail, it is held that an environment catastrophe of a very high level has occurred due to the spillage of molasses from the mill into Beas, leading to killing of large number of fish and other aquatic life of various species. Beas river is the only living river of Punjab and any environmental damage to this river has to be viewed very seriously by the state and the society.

“It is a fact that pollution of Beas on account of spillage of molasses has happened because the mill management has not paid required attention for the safety of the installation of the mill as a result the incident has happened with large scale environmental proportions.” Pannu said that it was the duty of the mill to take the issue of industrial safety of the mill more seriously in view of the fact that the industry is situated on the river bed which is environmentally sensitive zone.

“The mill shall undertake an endowment programme of Rs five crore to be deposited with the PPCB as environmental compensation for causing degradation of ecology of Beas river due to spillage of its molasses in the river, on the basis of polluter pays principal as per an action plan to be given by the PPCB,” he said.

The money shall be utilized for conservation and restoration of ecology of Beas river, including rejuvenation of aquatic life, he said.

The order further said that an action plan in this regard shall be prepared by Department of Forest, Department of Wild life, Department of Water Resources, the PPCB, PAU Ludhiana and GADVASU Ludhiana.

This Action Plan is to be spread over a period of five years so that sustainable results of ecological rejuvenation could be achieved, it said.

“A criminal complaint shall be filed against the mill and against the persons who at the time of the offence were committed, was incharge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct and business of the company as mentioned in section 47 of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,” the order said.

The order also mentioned about the continuation of sealing of the mill.

“That the mill industry shall remain sealed as per the directions already issued….That the industry will not restart any process unless all necessary pollution control measures are taken,” the order said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.