Where do you stand on pollution, environmentalists ask candidates : The Tribune India

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Where do you stand on pollution, environmentalists ask candidates

Say polluted Sutlej, Buddha Dariya, other water bodies major concerns for them

Where do you stand on pollution, environmentalists ask candidates

A part of the Buddha Nullah near Chand Cinema. INDERJEET VERMA

Tribune News Service

Harshraj Singh

Ludhiana, April 22

While conveying a message to candidates contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Ludhiana, environmentalists demanded from them to clarify their stance on environmental protection. They asked the candidates to elucidate their agenda for the prevention of pollution in the Buddha Dariya (commonly known as the Buddha Nullah) and the Sutlej.

Despite promises from politicians and officials, pollution in the nullah remains evident. At Walipur Kalan village, where the drain merges into the Sutlej, two distinct water shades persist — one black on the Walipur side and the other relatively clear.

Notably, the Rejuvenation of Buddha Dariya project, worth Rs 650 crore, was launched in December 2020. Initially scheduled for completion by December 2022, with an extended deadline of March 2024, the pollution problem persists. Environmental activists raised questions over the alleged silence of most candidates on the issue.

Environmentalist from Ludhiana, Col JS Gill (retd) stated: “With the approaching Lok Sabha elections, we intend to scrutinise environmental stances of all candidates. We will evaluate their plans for combating air, water and soil pollution and expect full disclosure of their strategies for ensuring the cleanliness of water bodies such as the Sutlej and the Buddha Dariya along with other water bodies. Moreover, we demand clarity on how they propose to ensure breathable air and chemical-free soil. Additionally, we seek assurances on how they plan to advocate for these environmental concerns in Parliament, if elected.”

“Our primary objective is the restoration of the environment and we advocate for stringent punishment for polluters. Notably, our city suffered a significant gas tragedy in Giaspura last year, resulting in the loss of 11 lives, yet no perpetrators have faced consequences. Candidates who do not prioritise environmental protection will face rejection,” he said.

A senior member of the Public Action Committee, established to safeguard the Mattewara Forest and the Sutlej River, Col CM Lakhanpal (retd), said they had been running campaigns to combat pollution in the Buddha Dariya and Sutlej for years. He highlighted the continuous dumping of industrial effluents, untreated sewage and various other types of waste into the dariya, with little to no concrete action taken against the primary polluters. The polluted water not only affects the dariya but also pollutes the Sutlej. Furthermore, he pointed out that the polluted water from the Bhattian drain is also being discharged into the Sutlej.

Colonel Lakhanpal emphasised: “Now, it is imperative for all candidates to clarify their stance on preventing pollution in the Sutlej, Buddha Dariya and other drains in the city. We are committed to escalating our awareness campaign to engage the public in environmental protection efforts.”

Environmental activists from across the state, along with Balbir Singh Seechewal (now Rajya Sabha MP), also ran a campaign before the previous Assembly elections in the state. They had also distributed ‘green manifesto’ copies among the people during the drive.

One of the activists said many politicians usually remain silent on the serious issue of pollution in water bodies as they allegedly have “close links” with polluters. He said all candidates must give in writing their agenda to prevent pollution in water bodies and protection of the environment. He also questioned alleged flaws in the working of existing three common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) of dyeing units and one of a private firm. Instead of releasing water from the CETPs into the Buddha Dariya, it must be reused by the industries, he added.

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#Environment #Lok Sabha #Pollution

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