The Chadha Sugars and Industries Private Limited, which caused a spillage of molasses in Beas and was shut down on Friday by the government, belongs to Jasdeep Kaur Chadha, daughter of former Delhi Gurdwara Sikh Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Harvinder Singh Sarna. Her late husband Hardeep Singh Chadha was liquor baron Ponty Chadha’s brother. Both brothers were killed in a shoot-out in 2012.
On Friday morning, Kaur’s father, and his brother Paramjit Sarna, who is officially designated as the religious advisor to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, met Industries Minister O P Soni at Punjab Bhawan. Paramjit Sarna told The Indian Express that they had gone to meet the minister to inform him that the molasses leak was an accident. “My niece is going to face huge losses worth crores. It was not a chemical that she was throwing into the river. It was a by-product of sugar that she would have used as raw material for preparing liquor. Does anyone care that she had helped the government by accommodating farmers not from the jurisdiction of her mill? There was a bumper crop and the glut would have caused problem. Now, she is in crisis,” he said.
A family member of Chadha not willing to be quoted said that Deepa Chadha was feeling “demoralised” by what had happened. “She feels responsible for the death of fish in the river. Almost three villages are dependent on the five units of the factory. Now it is shut. It is being said it was a bacterial infection in the tank that caused frothing and spillage. Despite working for many hours to control the spillage, setting up an embankment near the river, putting antibiotics in the tanks to control bacteria, it did not help,” said the family member.
Director in 15 companies, Deepa Chadha took over the business of her husband after his death. She was in news last year when she bagged contracts for operating almost all liquor licensing units in Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala. Just a fortnight ago, she had announced that her sugar mill at Kiri Afgana would continue crushing operation to accommodate the bumper crop beyond March, when these operations normally end.
Farmers from far-flung villages, who normally do not send their produce to the mill, had offloaded their produce in her unit.