Dhuri bypoll fallout: Punjab govt shelves Rs 50-crore meat processing project

  • Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times, Dhuri (Sangrur):
  • Updated: Mar 24, 2015 22:33 IST

Anticipating backslash during the assembly byelection here, the Punjab government has shelved its plan to invest Rs 50 crore in building a meat-processing unit in the constituency.

The Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion (PBIP) led by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had cleared the project for Ghanauri Kalan near the town. Dhuri residents, Hindu organisations especially, were up in protest since December 2014, but the order they were waiting for came only after the announcement of the byelection.

There were slogans raised against the project during the first campaign rally of the Shiromani Akali Dal, forcing its general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to announce that the project had been shelved. Two hours later, the Punjab government withdrew the approvals given to Shanoor Foods, citing it as a “decision in public interest”.

The SAD feared backslash from voters in the Hindu-dominated town, as not only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but also the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, and other Hindu radical organisations were opposing the unit. On Monday, even the Congress had raked it up at its first campaign rally.

The decision has left the unit owners in a lurch, as they had brought 8 acres and taken all the approvals by investing about Rs 5 crore. The Punjab government said it had withdrawn the letter of regulatory clearances issued to the company upon the request of the people living in the vicinity of Ghanauri Kalan.

The investment promotion bureau has directed the company not to construct anything further. The order is based on the report of the deputy commissioner that Shanoor Foods had started the construction in October 2014, even when the building plan had not been approved until December 12, 2014. Besides, the Letter of Regulatory Clearances (LoRC 2) was issued on January 13, 2015, so the company was deemed to have violated rules.

As DC also listed a possible law & order problem due to the ongoing public agitation, the PBIP has decided to reconsider the Regulatory Clearances and withdrawn it, said a press release of Punjab Government.

DC in its report has informed that the nearby residents of the area had been complaining against the setting up of this meat/slaughtering plant apprehending water & soil pollution, which may cause serious epidemic in the area, hurting of the religious sentiments and emerging law and order situation in the area due to proposed installation of the plant and requested the PBIP to take further necessary action in the matter.

On based on the report submitted by Deputy Commissioner, the PBIP has withdrawn the regulatory clearances.

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