A day after over five quintals dead fish were found in the historic Kali Bein, the municipal council (MC) and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) blamed each other for tragedy.
PPCB chief environmental engineer Gurinder Singh Majithia on Saturday told HT that they had started legal action against the MC, which had not taken any steps to stop sewerage water from mixing in the Kali Bein, despite repeated concerns raised by the PPCB.
“Water from Mukerian Hydel Channel has been stopped after consulting Padma Shree awardee environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal. We will release water from the hydel channel at 4 pm on Saturday after completion of some canal repair work,” said Majithia.
MC executive officer Sandeep Tiwari said, “The sewerage board is to be blamed for this tragedy. MC has written several times to the state government and the sewerage board to take over charge of the treatment plant as MC is unable to run it, owing to a shortage of funds.”
He said he was unaware with the mixing of sewerage water in Kali Bein. However, lakhs of dead fish were found in water for the second consecutive day on Saturday.
On Saturday, Padma Shri awardee Seechewal and his followers volunteered to remove dead fish from the river. Around 10 trolley loads of dead fish have been removed from Bein since Friday.
The worst-affected stretch is near historic Gurdwara Ber Sahib, where devotees gather for a holy dip on Baisakhi fair.
“So far, over five quintals of dead fish has been found in the Bein,” Seechewal said.
“Both the district administration and the PPCB have failed to check the flow of effluents, which has increased the level of pollution leading to this aquatic calamity”, he said.
“I have raised the demand of fresh water with irrigation minister Rana Gurjeet Singh, PPCB chairman Manpreet Singh and Kapurthala deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab since Match 26 but to no avail,” said Seechewal.
However, sewerage water continues to flow into the rivulet even as DC Tayyab, under Section 144 of CrPC banned the release of polluted water into the Bein.
DC Tayab, when contacted, advised contacting additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Dipti Uppal, who is looking into the matter.
“I have directed MC officials to stop the mixing of sewerage water in Kali Bein,” Uppal said.
In 2015, more than six quintal of dead fish was recovered from Kali Bein by Seechewal and his volunteers.