Noted environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal has advised the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to play its role in order to save water sources of the state.
He was speaking to HT after attending the quarterly meeting of the PPCB on December 26 at Patiala.
"At the meeting, I am some other members strongly put forward the point that discharge of effluents by industrial units in water must be stopped immediately."
He added that they questioned the fact that why did rivers with A-grade quality of water, suddenly turn into rivers with D-grade and E-grade rivers at some places?
He reportedly told the board: "There is failure on our part to preserve and protect the environment."
Seechewal said that the PPCB had to perform its duty with sensitivity towards industrialists' interests as well.
In the meeting, Seechewal also raised the issues of pollution being done a by Dasuya-based distillery, the violations of Water Act, 1974, by some of the municipal councils, the huge dump of garbage put up near Wariana village in Jalandhar, and industries discharging affluent to Kala Sanghian drains, Budha Nullah in Ludhiana, Chitti Bein and Jamsheir Drain, sources said.
At the meeting, the board also decided to hand over the case of municipal councils of Batala to Jaiton to court due to their continuous violation of the Water Act, 1975, sources added.
Giving his reaction to the issue. Seechewal said: "Some councils think that they after moving court, they a fundamental right to discharge effluents into water. There should be strict penalties for those who are playing with the lives of millions. "
"People of Malwa and neighbouring Rajasthan are worst affected, as several deadly diseases result after the consumption of poisonous water. Are we not killing the humanity due to our careless approach?," said Seechewal.
"We wish PPCB officials should come forward by encouraging those who have taken steps to avoid pollution. Some sort of acknowledgement of their efforts by awarding them could be done," Seechewal said.
"PPCB can play a constructive role by taking steps to eradicate corruption from within the board."
PPCB chairman Ravinder Singh could not be contacted for comments as his phone number 9915700123 was found switched off.
When contacted, PPCB member secretary Dr Babu Ram said: "The board is playing its role seriously. Whenever and wherever any violation is reported, we come into action immediately."
He claimed that matters like setting up of sewerage treatment plants were not the PPCB's prerogative as the responsibility lay with Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board. He claimed that the PPCB constantly pursued such cases with the Sewerage Board.