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Remove protesters from Zira plant, Punjab Govt tells cops

Acts day after being told by HC to deposit Rs 15-cr with Registry

Remove protesters from Zira plant, Punjab Govt tells cops

Farmers protest in Zira subdivision of Ferozepur district. file



Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, November 30

Forced to pay a fine of Rs 20 crore to a private distillery-cum-ethanol manufacturing company in Zira for failing to remove protesters from near the plant and allow the unit to function, the state government today asked top police officers to immediately act and remove the protesters.

Shut since July

Chief Secy Vijay Kumar Janjua said the govt was considering seeking an explanation from the officers concerned in Ferozepur for failing to act against protesters

The distillery and ethanol manufacturing plant has remained shut since the third week of July after residents alleged that effluents were being discharged from the plant in violation of norms

The orders by the government come a day after it was pulled up by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for failing to remove the protesters and allow the unit to run its operations. While the government was asked to deposit Rs 15 crore with its Registry yesterday, earlier the government was asked by the court to deposit Rs 5 crore after the unit — Malbros International Pvt Ltd — had moved the court.

It is learnt that a letter was shot off to ADGP (Law and Order), ADGP (Intelligence), DIG (Ferozepur Range), SSP (Ferozepur) and Deputy Commissioner (Ferozepur) today, asking them to implement the orders of the High Court. The protesters could be moved at some distance from the unit, allowing it to run its operations.

Official sources said a file in this regard would be put up before CM Bhagwant Mann.

The distillery and ethanol manufacturing plant has remained shut since the third week of July this year after local residents alleged that effluents were being discharged from the plant in violation of environmental norms and were adversely impacting the groundwater in the area.

The distillery had been functional since 2007, while the ethanol manufacturing plant started operations in February this year. This unit was supplying ethanol (180 kl per day) to state-owned oil marketing companies.

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