Chandigarh, May 20 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on May 20 expressed shock at the massive contamination of river water of the State due to the unchecked flow of industrial waste into them and asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to resolve this issue immediately.
In a statement, the SAD President said that widespread reports of polluted water which was dark black in color being released into the Ferozepur feeder canal from Harike headworks created a fear psychosis amongst people of the district.
“I have been approached by my constituents who fear that this polluted water will not only adversely affect their agricultural produce, but will also contaminate the groundwater of the area besides causing resultant diseases. Some people also use the canal water for drinking purposes which is now dangerous to do so,” Sukhbir Singh Badal said.
President Sukhbir Badal said it was shocking that despite complaints since the last few days of the entire water being polluted at Harike headworks where the Sutlej and Beas rivers merge, no action had been taken to check the release of pollutants in the rivers.
“There are reports of rampant industrial waste being allowed to flow into the Budha Nullah at Ludhiana which mixes with the Sutlej and Beas waters at Harike. The government is also not making any haste to complete work on the Jamalpur treatment project which is expected to tackle the pollution caused by domestic sewage waste. Similarly, dairy waste is also being allowed to flow into the river waters resulting in their present-day pollution,” Badal added.
Asking chief minister Bhagwant Mann to take immediate corrective steps, Badal said it was condemnable that various State governments were indulging in a blame game on this sensitive issue. “While the Water Resources department has issued an advisory urging people not to use the water for drinking purposes, the Pollution Control Board, which is responsible for checking the entry of industrial pollutants into the river waters, is claiming that the water is drinkable after treatment,” he further added.
Asking the AAP government to come out with a policy to clean the state river systems accompanied with a zero-tolerance towards polluters, Badal said the lackadaisical attitude of the earlier Congress government on this issue had emboldened polluters. “We have seen how polluted groundwater has resulted in the increase of incidence of cancer in the Malwa region. We must tackle this issue on a war footing”.