Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 17
Punjab Lok Chetna Lehar will organize a debate at Ramgarhia College in Ludhiana on 20 December, to pressurize political parties to include the environment on the main agenda of the forthcoming election.
Balbir Singh Seechewal, an environmentalist, and Kahn Singh Pannu, an ex-IAS officer, are leading the movement to raise the issue of righting to live in a clean environment with clean air, clean water, and nutritious food. The members of the movement said they had invited political leaders by name — Navjot Sidhu from the Congress, Bhagwant Mann from Aam Aadmi Party, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema from SAD and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa from SAD (Sanyukt). Seechewal stated that they would ask the parties that have ruled the state what they did to save the environment during their tenure. “We will also ask parties such as AAP which have not yet come to power as to what magic wand they will use to change the face of the environment for the betterment of Punjabis,” he said.
He made his point: “Certainly, inflation, crisis farming and unemployment are issues. But, the environment is deteriorating and people’s health and lives are at risk. The volume of solid waste is increasing. The untreated water is straightaway being mixed with river waters leading to cancer among residents of the villages falling along the banks of the river.”
Pannu said: “My idea of joining the movement is to simply awaken voters to rise to the problems and question the authorities and politicians as to what good work they have done to protect the environment. He listed numerous alarming facts and stated that the state’s groundwater would run dry in 17 years. There is a need of treating 2,200 MLD wastewater. However, there are systems that can only treat 1,600 MLD. The rest 600 MLD are directly discharged into drains or rivers. The permissible BOD limit is 10ppm. Buddha Nullah tested this value and found that it was 1,610ppm. The AGI should be no more than 50. However, it is not allowed to exceed 50 on rainy days.