PAC Sutlej and Mattewara Forest demands transparency from Channi government on Sutlej Action Plan and pollution free environment as a fundamental right

 

PAC Sutlej and Mattewara Jungle organized a silent "Freedom from Pollution" protest in front of Dr BR Ambedkar Statue near Jalandhar Bye Pass here today. The protest was led by Col CM Lakhanpal. The activists demanded pollution free environment esp air and water from the state govt as guaranteed by the article 21 of the constitution of India.

 

Adv Inderjit Kaur of who specializes in human rights and was present at the protest said, "The article 21 of our constitution created by Dr Ambedkar guarantees right to life. The supreme court has stated in its 1991 judgement in Subhash Kumar vs State of Bihar case that the right to life guaranteed by article 21 includes the right of enjoyment of pollution-free water and air for full enjoyment of life. Through this case, the court recognized the right to a wholesome environment as part of the fundamental right to life. Government of Punjab has been shirking its duty of protecting citizens from polluted air and water. Our rivers have been mercilessly polluted. Industries and municipal authorities have been dumping toxic sewage and effluents right under the nose of PPCB. Govt should stop misleading citizens with its propaganda in the name of development. Govt is promoting polluting industries in the most irresponsible and opaque manner. " 


"He demanded that govt bring complete transparency in its projects of rejuvenating Sutlej and  Buddha Dariya and also in its industrial policy esp about polluting industries and also in the functioning of PPCB", she added.

 

Ms Puja Sen Gupta of Earthcare Welfare Society said , "Punjab needs ecofriendly industries which do not damage its surface and underground water. The govt should stop promoting polluting industries further in Punjab and focus on bringing non polluting industries which do not harm our water bodies like Buddha Dariya and environment."

 

Gurpreet Singh Chandbaja president of Bhai Ghanayia Cancer Roko Seva Society Faridkot said, "We have visited the confluence point of Bhattian STP outlet drain with Sutlej near Kasabad village many times. This supposedly treated water coming out of the STP Bhattian is jet black and so pungent smelling that it is very difficult to even stand near the drain. This huge flow of almost 200 million litres per day is being mixed into pure drinking water of Sutlej. This is obviously violation of the right to life and pollution free environment of the people of Malwa and Rajasthan who drink this water as guaranteed by the constitution framed by the founding fathers of this country."

 

Jaskirat Singh of Naroa Punjab Manch said, "Govt hides all kinds of data which should be available in the public domain. No design documents of sewage or effluent treatment plants are available on PPCB website. Be it the CETPs of the dyeing industry or STPs of the municipal corporation Ludhiana not much information is available that a common citizen can download and see. For example the only environment clearance report of Bahadurke CETP of the dyeing industry that is available online is from 2014 and says it is a zero liquid discharge plant which it is not to the best of our understanding. On the other hand there is no document available online to understand its design, layout, expected input and output parameters, test reports etc."


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Mohinder Singh Sekhon of Punjab Bhasha Pasar Bhaichara said, "There were some media reports of PPCB officials asking for huge bribes from Bahadurke industry association in the recent past. Apparently even a complaint was filed by the industrial association in this regard which was later withdrawn as per media reports. Such things create a lot of doubts  and there should be a lot more authentic data and information available in the public domain related to functioning of sewage and effluent treatment plants to ensure all is well."

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