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OP Soni does a flip-flop on Sidhu’s action against illegal colonies in Jalandhar

OP Soni first suggested that Sidhu should have waited for the implementation of the one-time settlement policy, but changed his statement after mediapersons clarified that Sidhu had ordered the action against the illegal colonies.

punjab Updated: Jun 20, 2018 12:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Environment and education minister,Navjot Singh Sidhu,local bodies minister
Environment and education minister OP Soni and DC Varinder Sharma during a press conference in Jalandhar on Tuesday. (HT Photo)

Environment and education minister OP Soni did a flip-flop here on Tuesday over the crackdown ordered against illegal construction in Jalandhar by local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu by first suggesting that Sidhu should have waited for the implementation of the one-time settlement policy, but later justified the minister’s action when told that Sidhu had cracked the whip against the colonies, which were being established with the aim of getting them regularised under the same policy, and not the constructed houses.

Soni was interacting with mediapersons after holding a meeting with industrialists on environmental issues.

Speaking on Sidhu’s action he said, “If the state government has decided to regularise already constructed residential and commercial buildings under the one-time settlement policy, then Sidhu should have waited for one month more so that people were not made to suffer.”

However, Soni changed his statement after mediapersons clarified that Sidhu had ordered the action against the illegal colonies, which were being established by the colonisers to specifically take the benefit of this policy.”

He said, “Sidhu was right on his side. If colonisers are trying to establish new colonies to get benefit under the policy which is yet to come, then it is a crime.”

Asked whether a legal action should be initiated against the MLA, who stopped the demolition of a colony by mounting a JCB machine, the minister chose to remain mum and said that the department is under Navjot Sidhu and he could give a better answer.

‘70-80% pollution caused by civic bodies’

Soni, blaming civic bodies of the state for having 70-80% role in spreading pollution in the state, said that he is going to write to all the civic bodies to ensure that sewage treatment plants in their area are in the working condition.

“Being autonomous bodies, the civic bodies can play a key role in saving the environment from pollution,” he said.

Soni gave a two-month ultimatum to industrialists to get their water treatment plants operational in two months or face action.

Members of industrialists associations, including of sports and leather segments, were present at the meeting.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 12:26 IST