Shahkot, Jalandhar: Punjab government’s insensitivity towards the pollution in the Punjab rivers once again exposed, when ‘Pani Bachao Punjab Bachao’ committee leader and founder of Malwa Youth Federation Lakha Sidhana was arrested on Thursday while he was moving towards Shahkot, said Pani Bachao Punjab Bachao committee in a statement.
Lakha Sidhana and other activists in ‘Pani Bachao Punjab Bachao‘ Committee had planned to give a challenge to all the candidates contesting Shahpur by-election to drink the water collected by committee members from different rivers of Punjab.
Hundreds of environment activist of ‘Pani Bachao Punjab Bachao‘ had reached Shahkot to join this movement, which was also supported by ‘Alami Panjabi Sangat‘.
‘Pani Bachao Punjab Bachao’ Committee had given a call to the candidates contesting shahkot byelections that if they dare to accept the challenge to drink the water collected by committee members from different rivers of Punjab, then Committee members would campaign for such candidate in Shahkot byelection. Otherwise, these politician have no right to ask for votes from the Shahkot voter.
After Sidhana was arrested on Thursday on the way to Shahkot, ‘Pani Bachao Punjab Bachao’ members gathered in Shahkot and threatened to intensify their struggle.
Addressing a gathering, Pani Bachao Punjab Bachao’ member and Aalmi Panjabi Sangat founder member, Gangveer Rathour, said ,”Water has given birth to us. Our existence is due to water. But our river waters has been looted. Dams have been constructed on the rivers, which belong to us. These river waters have been diverted to Rajasthan and Haryana. Now government should stop blaming us for wasting water and advising as to save the water.”
Activist Babbu Khosa said, “We have been wasting no water. In fact, we have been contributing highest Paddy in the central central pool. We sow paddy after June 20 and largely our paddy crop is nurtured by monsoon. At the same time, our irrigation system has been made to collapse with the organized conspiracy. Making irrigation system collapse, governments have been forcing farmers to pump out the ground water, which is leading to decrease in the level of water. But still governments have not been releasing water into our rivers.”
Six Demands Raised by Pani Bachao, Punjab Bachao Committee:
First demand is that there should be at least 20% water in our rivers as it is compulsory according to international law. If there was enough 25% percent water in Beas last week then it would not had led to such a big crisis. Only 10,000 kiloliters molasses created such a havoc because there was no water in Beas. Due to very little water in river, molasses could not dilute into it and it kept on causing damage in such a long river and then further into canals. Intensity of crisis could have been minimal in case there was twenty five percent water in river.
Second demand is that the irrigation system in Punjab should be reorganized and strengthened and it should be made working. It should be ensured that every nook and corner of Punjab is irrigated with river waters. Capacity of our irrigation system to carry the water should be increased.
Third demand is that Punjab government should produce a report via newspapers and other mediums to inform the people that how many industrial units have been working in 25 kilometer area of any river or natural water channel flowing through Punjab. Industry set up in Himachal Pardesh is also polluting rivers and there should be proper mechanism to inspect such industries by Punjab government.
Fourth is, Punjab government should immediately revive Satluj and Budha Nala immediately by releasing required water from dam and ensure the flow of water regularly so that quality of water in Satluj and Buddha Nala should improved to level of drinking it.
Fifth is, Punjab government should come with white people on the alleged accident in Chadha distillery and sugar factories at Kiri Afgana and this white paper should be placed in Public domain.
Sixths is, Punjab is suffering from diseases like Cancer and Hepatitis caused by polluted river waters. Punjab and Indian government should declare this as National Disaster and funds reserved for the National Disaster in annual budget should be used for treatment of victims and financial help of their families.
If Indian government is not ready to accept our such genuine demands then it should be ready to face resistance from Punjabi Community.