Expressing disappointment at the decrease in forest cover in Punjab to around 7 per cent (as opposed to the 33 per cent set as the norm by the Government of India) due to deforestation,Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said that the state government will ensure that the area under forest cover in the state grows to 15% in the next few years by using the latest technology.
He was addressing the gathering at a state level function in Fazilka to launch the Greening Punjab Campaign.
Badal emphasized the need for making the Greening Punjab Campaign a public movement. Badal said that only with such a movement could the spread of grave diseases like cancer,asthma,diabetes and others caused by environmental pollution be checked. Stressing on the slogan of thecampaign Each One,Plant One,the CM said that all government departments,NGOs and religious bodies and every individual needs to play a proactive role to check the environmental degradation in the state by planting a large number of trees.
Badal also expressed alarm over reports of polluted water being supplied to residents,and said that the Punjab government has decided to get a comprehensive survey conducted across the state to check the quality of water. He said that under this survey each and every sample of water being supplied to households,whether through tube wells or through canal-based schemes,will be tested so that only potable drinking water is made available. Badal said that he had directed the state government to complete the survey within three months and submit a report regarding it so that necessary action can be taken on it.
On the issue of the non starting of the train between Abohar and Fazilka despite the completion of all the work,the Chief Minister said that the present Union government was delaying the starting of the train for its own vested interests and has thus not given its sanction.
Badal also spoke about remarks about the poor fiscal health of the state at the Centre. He said that if the state Congress leaders were seriously worried about the people of Punjab then they must exempt the states mounting debt because it was the price of war which the people of the state had fought for the nation during the period of militancy.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included Cabinet Minister Surjeet Kumar Jiyani,Financial Commissioner Forest DS Bains,Chief Parliamentary Secretary Chaudhary Nand Lal,Lok Sabha MP Sher Singh Ghubaya and other leaders of the SAD-BJP alliance.
Panel on water contamination
Chandigarh: In a bid to provide safe and quality drinking water to the rural population across the state,Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has constituted an expert committee which will analyze the different problems in the way and suggest remedial actions. Badal has appointed Punjabs Principal Secretary of Science,Technology and Environment,Karan Avatar Singh as the Chairman of the committee and Secretary,Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sanjay Kumar as Member Secretary. More than 1100 tubewells in the state from which drinking water was being supplied have recently been found to contain uranium and heavy metals in the water in excess of the limits prescribed by the WHO.