Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday called upon industry to take appropriate steps to check the pollution caused by their factories.

Speaking at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Mohali after launching his government’s landmark initiative – Mission Tandarust Punjab, the CM said throwing of waste into the rivers by industry was not acceptable.

It was the industry’s responsibility to control water pollution by ensuring that no untreated water or effluent is thrown into the rivers, he said.

The CM also expressed serious concern about the pollution of rivers by the cities, which he said needed to be stopped immediately.

This statement comes days after a leak from a sugar factory in Gurdaspur contaminated the Beas river water, killing thousands of fishes and destroying the aquatic ecosystem.

On 17 May, 12,000 litres of boiling molasses got spilled over into Beas from a mill of Chadha Sugar Industries following an exothermic reaction in its storage tanks. As the mill is located next to a drain connected to the river, the impact was immediate.Within hours, locals started spotting dead fishes floating on the water.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over the fast depleting ground water level, Amarinder underlined the importance of introducing crops that use less water, warning that “if we don’t act now, things will become extremely bad for the state in the times ahead”.

He also stressed the need for curtailing paddy cultivation in order to save the fast depleting water resources.

The CM exhorted the people to go back to planting traditional trees like Kikar, Neem, Berry etc instead of Poplar and Eucalyptus to protect the environment, and cited the example of Dubai where cutting the native tree was an offence.

On the occasion, the CM also launched ‘Tandarust Punjab’ booklet, as well as ‘Ghar Ghar Haryali’ app for providing information about saplings available with the Forest Department as per season.

The CM also formally launched the district administration’s ‘Mission Green Mohali’ initiative to plant one crore trees in three years.

Speaking on the occasion, Forest and Wildlife Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot described the mission as a major initiative in the context of the growing environmental pollution.