Punjab & Region

Ludhiana: Medha Patkar visits proposed site of industrial park near Mattewara

The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, November 22

Renowned social activist and environmentalist Medha Patkar visited Mattewara area as part of the Sutlej Bachao, Punjab Bachao campaign.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), under the banner of “Public Action Committee (PAC) for Sutlej and Mattewara, have been campaigning against the plan to create an industrial park near Mattewara. They have also been demanding complete transparency in the Buddha Nullah rejuvenation project.

Patkar highlighted the issue of Sutlej pollution via Buddha Nullah and other wastewater drains of industries, which pose a great environmental hazard.

Patkar said she, along with various other environment lovers, are working on the protection of Narmada as they consider it their mother, and Sutlej in Punjab deserves the same level of respect and protection as it is also a source of drinking water for millions.

She congratulated Punjabis for leading the way in the farm agitation and promised to raise the issue of environment protection of Punjab in the meeting of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) as well.

A tour to Mattewara forest was organised by the PAC for her to take a first-hand view of the site of the proposed industrial park near the protected forests.

She interacted with the villagers of Sekhowal who are protesting against the plan of their eviction from their farms due to the proposed industrial textile park in the area.

Kashmir Singh, a resident of Sekhowal village, said the Dalits in the area fought a long battle for land ownership, from the 1960s to 2014. “Our victory was short-lived as we are again losing this land, this time to the government which plans to bring a modern industrial park,” she said.

Kapil Dev, the main petitioner in the NGT case against the proposed Modern Industrial Park, said the state government bulldozed its way by notifying modifications to the Ludhiana Master Plan to allow an industrial park on the river flood plain. This, despite an NGT order to first demarcate the flood plains of Sutlej, which the government has been defying till date, he said.