With just four days left for the Shahkot by-elections, the issue of leakage of molasses into the Beas river became a major issue for other political parties to corner ruling Congress party in Punjab.
Both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), are aggressively campaigning against the ruling Congress while highlighting leakage of molasses from a Gurdaspur based private Sugar Mill for allegedly having inadequate technical and safety arrangement.
Even, the SAD has accused the Congress for illegally distributing illicit liquor in its campaign. The SAD Senior vice president Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema has demanded the Election Commission to order an emergency time-bound probe.
He claimed about the possible link between alleged supply of liquor and the spillage of lethal effluents by the Sugar Mill-cum-Wine Distillery owned by a bigwig of the ruling party.
Similarly, the AAP has approached National Green Tribunal (NGT) following which the notice of motion was issued to the Water Resource Ministry, state of Punjab, state of Rajasthan, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).
Leader of Opposition Party (LoP) in Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that it is not only the matter of Beas river from where pollution is arising.
He claimed that people were forced to use contaminated water in other areas of Punjab as well.
He said nearly eight people have been died recently due to hepatitis and cancer from water borne diseases caused by the poison flowing in ‘Budda-Nala’ in Malwa region.
“The people also complained about extinction of aquatic animals including fish due to the said poisonous discharge from Budda-Nala into river Sutlej. Their animals including buffaloes and cattle have died in large numbers during the last few years, besides producing poisonous milk,” Khaira added.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress leader and Shahkot by-election campaign incharge, Sandeep Sandhu told The Statesman that the issue was created unnecessary.
“The state government has already taken the necessary action as the Sugar Mill responsible for spillage has been sealed. The SAD and AAP have no other issue against the Congress thus making unwanted hue and cry to seek public attention”, he said.
The by-elections for the Shahkot Assembly seat, are necessitated to be held of 28 May due to the demise of 81-years-old SAD leader Ajit Singh Kohar in February.