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Put people’s lives above distillery owners’ interests: Sukhbir Badal to Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to put people’s lives above the interests of the distillery owners in Zira.

He asked Mann to address the groundwater pollution menace on war footing instead of facilitating the company behind the liquor distillery in Zira in dubious ways.

In a statement here, SAD president said dharna against the Malbros distillery going on for the past 150 days is totally fair as it concerns precious human lives.

He said his party fully backs the Sanjha Front formed by the residents of Mansurwala and adjoining villages to demand closure of the distillery. “They are displaying ground water from the area which they assert has polluted underground water reservoirs up to 650 feet deep. It is a question of their very survival”.

Sukhbir Badal said instead of listening to the people of the area, the chief minister seemed to be facilitating the distillery owners. “People have been hurt by the clean chit given to the water samples from the area. It is clear that the AAP government has procured a clean chit for the distillery and did not represent the people’s case before the high court properly.”

The SAD president said instead of answering these questions and removing the grievances of the people, the chief minister was actually trying to befool the victims. “First Bhagwant Mann went through the motions of listening to the famers and assuring them that all their apprehensions would be addressed. He then made a grand show of deputing his cabinet colleague Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal to fulfill their demands. However, within the space of twelve hours the government started uprooting the tents of the Sanjha Front and started using high handed means against them”.

Asking the chief minister why he had gone back on the promise given to the people and why the rights of villagers were not being safeguarded, he said the government should resolve the issue through mediation instead of using force to suppress a democratic movement. “The SAD condemns use of force against the villagers of the area.”

Badal said the government should also listen to the protesters and examine the samples they were giving to the government. “The villagers have even challenged the chief minister to drink the water from the vicinity of the factory which they assert is unfit for human consumption”. He said the process followed in collection of earlier samples should also be re-examined to ensure the samples were not procured with the purpose of giving a clean chit to the liquor distillery.

“Groundwater pollution is a serious problem and we must deal with it with utmost sensitivity. Polluted groundwater has the capacity to not only harm the viability of crops and livelihoods of people dependent on agriculture, but could also lead to spread of fatal diseases,” Badal added.

#Bhagwant Mann
#Shiromani Akali Dal
#Sukhbir Badal

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