Chandigarh:Giving in to the farmers’ stir against the alleged pollution caused by a private distillery in the village Mansurwal in Zira, Ferozepur district, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday ordered the liquor factory’s closure.
Farmers of over 40 villages and residents of the Zira town had been protesting for the past six months against factory effluents polluting the soil, water and air. They had also launched a protest against it since July 24, last year. The distillery has been in operation since 2006.
Mr Mann took to Twitter to announce the unit’s closure and wrote (in Punjabi) that no one would be allowed to pollute the environment of Punjab and hence he was ordering the Zira liquor factory’s closure after consulting the legal experts in public interest. Also, any one attempting to spoil the environment would not be spared, he added.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) general secretary Harinder Singh Lakhowal welcomed the decision saying it was better late than never. He held that the farmers who had raised the voice against the damage to their farm land and underground water, had continued their protest despite police and local administration and severe cold-wave conditions.
Meanwhile, it may be recalled that even though the private distillery had been given a clean chit by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which the protesters did not accept, a legal battle has been going on in the Punjab and Haryana high court. The government had admitted in the court that the farmers’ dharna (sit-in) near the unit was illegal, though it had failed to clear the site of the protesters.
The case is now listed for hearing on February 28.
Meanwhile, a three-member committee headed by justice (retd) R K Nehru had held meetings with the protesters and the district administration officials on Monday and Tuesday.
However, the farmers who have welcomed Mr Mann’s order, say that they would now gear up for the legal battle.
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