Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said it was the responsibility of the industries in the state to control pollution by ensuring that no untreated water or effluent is thrown into the rivers. He also stressed the need for curtailing paddy cultivation in order to save the depleting water resources.
Singh was speaking on the World Environment Day at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) here after launching the Congress government’s landmark initiative ‘Mission Tandarust Punjab’, to transform Punjab into one of the healthiest state.
Expressing concern over the depleting ground water level, the chief minister underlined the importance of introducing crops that use less water, warning that “if we do not act now, things will become extremely bad for the state in the times ahead”. Reiterating his government’s commitment to ensuring clean water, the chief minister said throwing of waste into the rivers by industry was not acceptable.
“It is the industry’s responsibility to control water pollution by ensuring that no untreated water or effluent is thrown into the rivers,” he said. Singh also expressed concern about the pollution of rivers by the cities, which he said needed to be stopped immediately.
The chief minister exhorted the people to go back to planting traditional trees like kikar, neem, berry instead of poplar and eucalyptus to protect the environment, and cited the example of Dubai where cutting the native tree was an offence. He appealed to people in the state to plant at least one tree to contribute to protection of the environment for the coming generations.
He called for judicious use of pesticides to save the environment and asked the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, to intensify its efforts to educate farmers about it. The chief minister also launched a ‘Tandarust Punjab’ booklet and ‘Ghar Ghar Haryali’ app for providing information about saplings available with the Forest department as per season.
Singh presented saplings of chandan (sandalwood) to 13 eco-conservationists for the plantation of 10 lakh saplings in the state. The chief minister also formally launched the district administration’s ‘Mission Green Mohali’ initiative to plant 1 crore trees in three years. Speaking on the occasion, Forest and Wildlife Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot described the mission as a major initiative in the context of the growing environmental pollution.
He announced that the Forest department would provide 1 lakh saplings of sandalwood to farmers for planting at the boundaries of their fields. Dharamsot said that the department had set a target to plant 8 crore saplings of various kinds across the state.
Environment Minister O P Soni said that no state or nation could progress and prosper in the absence of a clean and green environment and the mission would go a long way in enabling such an environment in Punjab.
Former Director PGIMER, Chandigarh, K K Talwar welcomed the launch of the mission on the World Environment Day, exhorting one and all to work together for Acchhi Sehat, Acchhi Soch.