Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the Union Environment ministry had deputed a central team to assess the ecological damage caused by the sugar mill of the family of the chief minister’s Religious Advisor Paramjit Sarna by releasing industrial effluents into the Beas river.Welcoming the development after an appeal made by him yesterday, the SAD President said he had been conveyed that a central team would make on the spot inquiry of the man made ecological disaster which had killed thousands of tonnes of fish besides polluting drinking water supply of the Malwa region.“I am hopeful that this inquiry will pin down the Sarna family and lead to initiation of criminal proceedings against them besides their arrest and due punishment”. The SAD president, who had written a letter in this context to Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan yesterday, said criminal proceedings should be launched against the owners and Directors of the Chadha sugar mill/distillery which had wilfully discharged effluents into the Beas river. “Once this is done the Sarna family will be brought to book for their crimes against humanity”, he added.
The SAD president said besides loss of aquatic life and contamination of the Beas eco system, the Sarna family had endangered the lives of millions of people who were dependent on water supply from the river in Punjab and Rajasthan. “Such pollution could result in a spike in cancer cases in the Malwa region and cause untold hardships to its people. We request the central team to recommend a comprehensive compensation package for the affected people which should be enforced by sealing and even auctioning the sugar mill/distillery if required”. The SAD president, who is currently campaigning in Shahkot, said in another tragic development the sacred Kali Bein, which is historically associated with the life of Guru Nanak ji, had also been contaminated by the wilful release of effluents by the Sarna family.The former Deputy CM also asked the Punjab government not to shelter those responsible for this heinous crime, saying the government was responsible for the welfare of the people and not its chosen favourites as was happening in the case of the Sarna family. “In case the government still does not take appropriate action against the Sarna family we will explore legal options to ensure justice to the victims of the Sarna family’s cruelty”, he added.