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Posted at: May 26, 2018, 2:18 AM; last updated: May 26, 2018, 2:31 PM (IST)

XEN and SDO suspended for Beas spill, letter saves bosses

XEN and SDO suspended for Beas spill, letter saves bosses
File photo of dead fish in Beas river.

Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25

The Punjab  Environment Department on Friday suspended Environment Engineer Kuldip Singh (equal to XEN) and Assistant Environment Engineer Amritpal Singh Chahal (equal to SDO) for failing in their supervisory duty that led to molasses from Chadha Sugar Industries in Kiri Afghana, Gurdaspur, spilling into the Beas, destroying acquatic life and polluting the river waters. 

 It seems the higher-ups — Chief Engineer and Superintending Engineer — have escaped blame and subsequently punitive action owing to an order issued by Punjab Pollution Control Board Chairman KS Pannu in March, putting an end to spot visits by the two.

Environment Minister OP Soni said: “We have come to know about such an order. I have sought the relevant papers and will ensure no guilty official is spared. The action against the XEN and the SDO is justified, but I don’t see any reason for sparing the CE and the SE.” 

Principal Secretary (Science, Technology and Environment) Roshan Sankaria said they had clear instructions that all officials responsible for regulating Chadha Industries must be suspended. “With a communication from the office of the PPCB on stopping site visits by the CE and SE, we could not have proceeded against them.” 

PPCB chairman Pannu said the order was aimed at ensuring that senior officers paid greater attention to bigger sources of pollution, particularly big industries. 

“There are more ways of keeping a watch on the ground than spot visits,” he remarked. 

The Environment Minister maintained he had instructed all senior officers to go to the spot for first-hand information. He warned industrial units to adhere to pollution norms or face the music.

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