Ferozepur, February 9
Notwithstanding the withdrawal of permission to run the ethanol plant by the PPCB, members of the ‘Sanjha Morcha’ continue to wait for the written notification regarding its permanent closure as announced by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on January 17.
Earlier, ‘Sanjha Morcha’ members were hoping that the state government would take up the matter during the Cabinet meeting held on January 3, but in vain.
Expressing concern, the ‘Sanjha Morcha’ has now called a meeting of all allied farmer unions and other supporting organisations tomorrow to chalk out the further course of action.
Sources said there was seemingly difference of opinion between the ‘Sanjha Morcha’ and some other supporting organisations over the further strategy to be adopted. Though, a section of ‘Sanjha Morcha’ members expressed satisfaction over the turn of events during the last few days, however, they were speculative about lifting the dharna till the written orders were issued by the CMO.
When contacted, sarpanch Gurmail Singh, who has been spearheading the protest, said he came to know about the withdrawal of consent to operate the plant by the PPCB through The Tribune.
“I feel the plant management will not be able to run this unit now. Also, we came to know that the licence to operate the plant issued by the Excise Department will expire on March 31,” Gurmail said, adding that already the plant had destroyed many lives, and the government should not delay issuing of the notification regarding its permanent closure.
The three fact finding committees constituted by the state government, including health analysis committee, soil inspection committee and animal husbandry committee, have submitted their reports, which have not been made public till now. One last report on the water quality is pending for reasons unforeseen.
While talking about the arrest of Gautam Malhotra, son of Deep Malhotra, purported owner of the ethanol plant by the ED in a money laundering case pertaining to the Delhi Excise Policy, Jagtar Singh, member of the “Sanjha Morcha” said they already suspected that the AAP government was soft pedalling the issue to protect owners. “We will have a meeting tomorrow to discuss the further course of action,” said Jagtar.
Apart from the written orders, the protesters are also waiting for the word from the government on their other demands in order to lift the dharna, which include withdrawal of cases registered against protesters, compensation to families, who lost their kin due to ailments allegedly caused by the contaminated groundwater, slapping of penalty against the plant administration, compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to those, who lost jobs, besides setting up of a multispecialty hospital in the area.
#bhagwant mann #Environment #Ferozepur #Pollution #Punjab Pollution Control Board PPCB #Zira Agitation
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