December 21, 2021 9:23:34 am
Urging political parties to lay thrust on environmental issues of Punjab in their pre-poll promises and manifesto document, a group of green activists, led by Padma Shri awardee environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal, released ‘people’s green election manifesto’ during Punjab Vatavaran Lok Sammelan held at Ramgarhia College of Ludhiana Monday.
The initiative was launched by Punjab Vatavaran Chetna Lehar, a social organisation of environmentalists and religious leaders. Green activists, including Padma Shri awardee Sewa Singh, Padma Bhushan awardee Bibi Inderjit Kaur Pingalwara, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) former chairman Kahan Singh Pannu, former jathedar Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Giani Kewal Singh and others were present on the occasion.
In the people’s demand letter, they have asked the political partie to focus on environmental issues in the Assembly elections.
Ranjodh Singh, president, Ramgarhia Educational Council, asserted that through this congregation they were urging political parties to spell out in their manifestos how they will tackle the worsening air pollution. “Leaders rarely raise an issue concerning the environment in their election rallies,” he said.
Seechewal said that it was a sad state of affairs that no political party has talked about the environment issues yet. “To have clean air is among the very basic rights of all the civilians. It is high time we joined hands to save natural resources which are on the verge of extinction. We are calling up all NGOs and social organisations and political parties to join us in this noble cause,” Seechewal said. Seechewal emphasised the need for environment lovers across the state to come together and use the pressure to make the political class take environmental issues seriously.
Kahn Singh Pannu, former chairman of PPCB, said that the groundwater situation in the state was very alarming due to fast depletion. The surface water is being polluted mercilessly and governments lack political will to do what is needed to be done. Punjab Vatavaran Chetna Lehar has created a People’s Green Manifesto that political parties should consider seriously and address environmental concerns in their manifestoes.
Gurpreet Singh Chandbaja of Naroa Punjab Manch said that people in south Punjab are suffering from diseases like cancer. The situation is extremely bad and toxicity in the environment is causing it. All the toxic effluent thrown into Buddha Nullah by Ludhiana city and industries in the morning mixes into Sutlej river and flows out of the taps of homes in south Punjab by the evening which is their only source of drinking water. This is a violation of their fundamental right to live guaranteed by the Constitution and sadly genocide by pollution but politicians hardly care.
Jaskirat Singh said that the politicians of all parties have been ignoring the environmental issues for a very long time. “We have therefore organised this platform to give them a chance to fix this mistake. This network will act as a pressure group to save our forests, rivers and air and make the government invest in a cleaner and healthier future,” he said, adding that “we are making the copy of this green manifesto reach as many politicians as we can who will be contesting Punjab polls”.
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