Vidhan Sabha committee to probe sugar mills pollution

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Chandigarh, Dec 20 (UNI) A joint committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha will study the enviornmental and pollution threat of sugar mills/ distillaries in Punjab and submit its report to the House during the the Budget session.

This announcement was made by Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon after the House adopted a motion on the threats posed by sugar mills to the enviornment and to human health.

The motion was moved by Cooperatives Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh after members from the Treausury expressed their opinion on the enviornmental hazards posed by sugar mills and their effects on human health.

A number of ruling party members particularly those from Tarn Taran district expressed concern on the safety of those residing in the vicinity of sugar mills and distillaries. They gave vent to their feelings when a call attention motion on the emission of poisonous gases from a liquor factory in Lohka village of Tarn Taran district was brought in the House by Harmeet Singh Sandhu (SAD).

It was while the Minister of Science, Technology and Enviornment Bikram Singh Majithia was replying to the call attention motion that the Opposition Congress members objected that the matter concerning the factory at Lohka village could not be discussed as it was pending before the Punjab and Haryana High court. In fact the Minister in his written reply also stated that the matter was pending in the High Court.

A number of Congress members including Lal Singh who were on their feet claimed that any discussion on the matter would amount to contempt of court. He also objected to the formation of the joint House committee by the Speaker.

Countering the Opposition claims, the Treasury benched pointed out that the matter was of utmost importance as it concerened the environment and human health. The Opposition disassociated itself from the committee as the issue about Lohka distillaries was sub judice.

Refering to the objections raised by the Opposition, the Speaker said that the House committee would look into the pollution levels of all sugar mills/distillaries and not of any particular unit. The concerened unit (at Lohka) can be omitted from the inquiry, he added.

However the Speakers assurance did not satisfy the Congress members who maintained that it would have nothing to do with this committee. " It amounts to lowering the dignity of the court", a number of Congress members were heard shouting during the verbal duel between the Opposition and the Ruling party benches.

Later while talking to mediapersons outside the House, Mrs Bhattal said that the matter about the concerened mill should not have been brought to the House as it was sub judice. The Speaker should find out how this issue came to figure in the House, she added.

Mrs Bhattal who held a meeting of her legislature party said that they had decided to remain away from the committee to be formed by the Speaker.

UNI

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