Holding every individual responsible for saving the state and its environment, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday called upon industry to take appropriate steps to check the pollution caused by their factories, while stressing the need for curtailing paddy cultivation in order to save the fast depleting water resourcesHe was speaking at the IISER here after launching his government’s landmark initiative – Mission Tandarust Punjab, to transform Punjab into the healthiest state by creating a healthy living environment for the people through better air, water and food quality.Expressing concern over the fast depleting ground water level, the Chief Minister underlined the importance of introducing crops that use less water, warning that “if we don’t act now, things will become extremely bad for the state in the times ahead.”Reiterating his government’s commitment to ensuring clean water, the Chief Minister said throwing of waste into the rivers by industry was not acceptable. It was the industry’s responsibility to control water pollution by ensuring that no untreated water or effluent is thrown into the rivers, he stressed. Captain Amarinder Singh also expressed serious concern about the pollution of rivers by the cities, which he said needed to be stopped immediately.The Chief Minister exhorted the people to go back to planting traditional trees like Kikar, Neem, Berry etc instead of Poplar and Eucalyptus to protect the environment, and cited the example of Dubai where cutting the native tree was an offence. He appealed to every household in the state to plant at least one tree to contribute to protection of the environment for the coming generations.
At the same time, he called for judicious use of pesticides to save the environment and asked PAU to intensify its efforts to educate farmers about this.On the occasion, the Chief Minister also launched 'Tandarust Punjab' booklet, as well as 'Ghar Ghar Haryali' app for providing information about saplings available with the Forest Department as per season.To mark the occasion, the Chief Minister presented saplings of Chandan (sandalwood) to 13 eco-conservationists - Dilbagh Singh Mangat from Fatehgarh Sahib, Ashok Jain, Boota Singh, Rajesh Jindal, Dalip Singh, Upkar Singh, Iqbal Singh, Harminder Singh, Abhimanyu from Patiala, poultry farmer Rajesh Garg from Sangrur, Sunil Kumar from Jaura Kalan, Industrialist Tilak Raj Banka Mohali and Jagjit Singh, for the plantation of 10 lakh saplings in the state.The Chief Minister also formally launched the district administration’s 'Mission Green Mohali' initiative to plant one crore trees in three years.Speaking on the occasion, Forest and Wildlife Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot described the mission as a major initiative in the context of the growing environmental pollution. He announced that the forest department would provide one lakh saplings of sandalwood to farmers for planting at the boundaries of their fields. He said that department had set a target to plant eight crore saplings of various kinds across the state.
Environment Minister O P Soni said that no state or nation could progress and prosper in the absence of a clean and green environment and the Mission would go a long way in enabling such an environment in Punjab. He urged the Chief Minister to take stringent steps to check inflow of untreated water and effluent into the riversEarlier, in his welcome address, Additional Chief Secretary Science and Technology and Environment Dr. Roshan Sunkaria gave a detailed presentation about the mission, listing clean drinking water, ambient air quality, availability of unadulterated food, and physical & mental health as its four key goals.Former Director PGIMER, Chandigarh, Dr. K K Talwar welcomed the launch of the mission on World Environment Day, exhorting one and all to work together for ‘Acchhi Sehat, Acchhi Soch’. He emphasised the need to strengthen regulatory and monitoring mechanism, and suggested the constitution of an expert group to ensure stringent implementation of this unique programme.Padma Shri Baba Sewa Singh Khadoor Sahib called upon the people to take a pledge to save water, air and soil of state, in order to make Punjab the healthiest state. He also advocated the need to shun the practice of throwing sacks of waste into the rivers and to stop stubble burning. Prominent among others who attended the event included Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Mission Tandarust Punjab Director & PPCB Chairman K S Pannu, Former Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, Director IISER Mohali D P Sarkar.