Chandigarh, May 21 (IANS) In the wake of death of a large number of fish in the Beas river, Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday accused the Punjab government of “patronising an environmental massacre by turning a blind eye to massive and manmade ecological disaster” caused by industries.
In a letter to Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan, Badal said the pollution of Beas river water and the scale of death of aquatic life in water bodies in Punjab was a “shocking example of the brazen insensitivity of the offending parties with active patronage of the state government”. “An offending sugar mill is owned by a highly connected political leader who is also a religious adviser to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The grave irony of the tragedy is that it has led to the contamination of the sacred Kali Bein which is associated with first Sikh master, Guru Nanak Dev,” Badal said in a statement here. Demanding the immediate arrest of the mill’s management and directors, the former Deputy Chief Minister said that they should be proceeded against under the law for endangering the lives of millions of people in Punjab and Rajasthan, apart from causing the death of aquatic life. He said that the government of India should directly address the crisis as it has already become a multi-state calamity. Badal demanded that a central team from the Ministry of Environment should be deputed for an on-the-spot study. “The team should assess the extent of damage caused by this calamity so far and likely to be caused in the coming days and determine the scale of compensation to be paid to the affected people. The burden of this compensation should be borne by the guilty industrialist,” Badal said. –IANS js/tsb/mr