Patiala, May 24 (PTI) Representatives of the Chadha Sugar Mill led by its president Rattan Singh Anmol today appeared before a panel of the Punjab Pollution Control Board which had issued it a notice in connection with the molasses leakage incident. Also Read - 355th Prakash Purab of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Today | Know All About The 10th Guru of Sikhs, His Teachings Here

During the two-hour long hearing, representatives of mill said they had made a temporary arrangement for the storage of molasses because of an increase in its production. Also Read - Mirzapur Live: Robber Shot Dead in Police Encounter at Marriage Hall in Punjab's Tarn Taran, 4 Nabbed

Molasses is a byproduct produced during the sugarcane processing. Also Read - Public, Private Universities in Punjab to Reopen From Jan 21, Govt Issues SOPs | Details Here

They said that they were asked not to stall sugar production in the wake of increased production of cane and it led to a rise in the production of molasses.

As the mill did not have a storage facility sufficient for the same, it had to make temporary arrangements on its premises which led to the disaster, they said.

Vishal S Bhardwaj, one of the lawyers for the mill, said there was an increased production of sugarcane and the mill had to run crushing operations till April 30, following which a large amount of molasses was accumulated on the premises.

He said they had presented all the facts before the board and were hoping that these would satisfy the officials. He claimed that the leakage was a “natural disaster” which had been politicised.

A probe committee, formed by the state government after the incident, had found violations in the storage of molasses at the sugar mill.

PPCB chairman K S Pannu told reporters that they were now waiting for a report by the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University which had inspected the water and fish samples.

“Once we have the all the reports with us, we will conclude the inquiry and put the same before the state government following which it will be shared with the media,”said Pannu.

The PPCB yesterday issued a notice to the sugar mill in the molasses leakage incident, seeking its reply on why action should not be initiated for the alleged violations detected by the probe committee.

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

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.