Chandigarh, May 30 (IANS) With the opposition accusing his government of inaction over industries brazenly polluting the state, particularly river water, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered a crackdown on polluting industries.
Reiterating his government's zero tolerance to river pollution, Amarinder Singh ordered stringent enforcement of the laws and regulations governing discharge of effluents into the rivers.
"My government will not allow pollution to damage the health of the people of Punjab at any cost, whether in towns or villages," he said after a meeting with senior officers, including that of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).
"Strict action will be taken against all polluting units. Neither the industry nor the municipalities would be allowed to flow any effluents into the rivers without treating them," said Amarinder Singh, also directing the Chief Secretary to prepare a comprehensive river cleaning plan with a clear timeline for its implementation.
The state government drew flak recently after molasses discharge by Chadha Sugar mill and distillery in Gurdaspur district not only contaminated water of the Beas river but also led to death of thousands of fish earlier this month.
The government only imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on the sugar mill through the PPCB and did not get a case registered against the factory owners, who are considered close to the Chief Minister and the ruling Congress.
Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira, of the Aam Aadmi Party, has openly accused the Amarinder government of turning a blind eye to the pollution being spread by the mill owned by former minister Rana Gurjit Singh.
Lambasting the AAP and Khaira for playing political games over a serious issue, Amarinder Singh said his government was "seriously tackling the issue of pollution in a systematic manner".
The AAP leaders had sought a meeting with the Chief Minister on Wednesday over the issue but he did not meet them.
A protest march by AAP leadership to the Chief Minister's residence was stopped by the Chandigarh Police.
Lashing out at the earlier Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government for making a mess of the state during the 10 years of their misrule, Amarinder Singh said it would take time to streamline things.