Two Punjab engineers suspended after molasses discharge into Beas

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Chandigarh, May 25 (IANS) Punjab Environment Minister Om Prakash Soni on Thursday suspended two engineers of the Environment Department for laxity after discharge of molasses into the Beas river from a sugar factory in Gurdaspur district led to an environmental disaster causing death of thousands of fish and contaminating the river water.

The suspended are Executive Engineer Kuldeep Singh and Sub-Divisional Officer Amritpal Singh Chahal from the Regional Environment Office in Batala.

Soni said that these officers did not properly monitor the area of Kirri Afghana, which falls in their jurisdiction due to which the incident of molasses spillover occurred from Chadha Sugar Mill occurred, admitting that due to their approach, aquatic life was in a grave danger.

He directed officials of the Environment Department to ensure regular checks in their areas and take appropriate action against the industrial units which violate environment norms.

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“No industrial unit would be allowed to throw hazardous waste in the rivers and streams and strict action would be taken against the owners. The Punjab government is committed to provide a congenial atmosphere for industry but no one would be spared if the environment is harmed,” Soni said.

The Punjab government on Thursday announced that a penalty of Rs 5 crore is being imposed against the Chadha Sugar Mill in the Beas molasses spill case.

The molassess discharge has led to the death of thousands of fish in the Beas river and contaminated water downstream in the river.

The Congress government drew flak from opposition Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party for not taking action against owners of the sugar mill, who are considered close to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and other senior Congress leaders in Punjab.

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–IANS

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