The Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday directed the concerned agencies to vigorously pursue legal and penal action against the offenders in the matter of the leakage of molasses into the Beas river.

Reviewing the progress of the action taken so far by various government agencies, the CM also sought a detailed report by Thursday.

An official spokesperson said that the Department of Environment has been asked to present the report on the inquiry initiated into the incident, which had damaged aquatic life and polluted the river waters as well as disturbed the canal-based water supply in the southern districts of Faridkot, Muktsar and Fazilka.

Amarinder Singh further instructed the various agencies, which are probing the matter, to expedite their investigations so that the responsibility for the act could be pinned and the guilty could be brought to book at the earliest, added the spokesperson.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) is scheduled to hold a formal hearing into the matter on Thursday.

The spokesperson added that prosecution had already been initiated by the Department of Wildlife for the loss of aquatic life. Similarly, the Department of Water Resources had also initiated legal proceedings against the offender distillery under the Canal and Drainage Act.

The CM also reviewed the steps being taken to check the quality of the canal water being supplied in the affected areas. As per reports based on samples collected by the PPCB at different places, the quality of raw canal water had almost normalised.

However, the CM has ordered immediate release of additional fresh water into the Beas to further stabilise the situation, said the spokesperson.

As a precautionary measure, the water supply agencies have also initiated cleaning of water works to preclude any possibility of contaminated treated water being supplied to the local population.

The agencies would make interim arrangements, wherever necessary, through supply of free water from Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants or through tankers during the period of cleaning of water works, the spokesperson added.