SEECHEWAL (Jalandhar): Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday called for the start of a mass movement to save water and the environment in the state.
The Chief Minister, who was here to take part in a ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of the death of Sant Avtar Singh here today, expressed deep concern over the depletion of groundwater and the pollution of the environment in the state. He said immediate remedial action is needed to save Punjab’s only precious and scarce natural resource of water and control environmental pollution. Bhagwant Mann said this cannot be done by the government alone, but the participation of the people is essential by launching a vigorous mass awareness campaign to sensitize them on its importance, especially in the wake of global warming.
Expressing deep concern over the seriousness of the emerging situation following the rapid depletion of the water table, the Chief Minister said that almost all the blocks in the state were in a dark zone as far as groundwater is concerned. . Bhagwant Mann said it is truly pathetic to hear that the same high-powered engines that are used to extract oil in Dubai and other Arab countries are used to elicit groundwater in the state. He said this reckless trend must be checked immediately so that our future generations do not have to fight for water.
The Chief Minister further said that, on its part, the state government is trying to ensure optimum use of surface water in the state to reduce the pressure on groundwater. Likewise, he said that this year, the state government has encouraged direct seeding of rice (DSR) as 20 lakh acres of the state are expected to be cultivated there, which will save water. Bhagwant Mann also said that in another noble move, the state government granted MSP to Moong to keep farmers away from the paddy circle and save water through crop diversification.
Further emphasizing, the Chief Minister further stated that the state government will leave no stone unturned to save water and make Punjab clean, green and pollution-free. On a question flagged by Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, Bhagwant Mann said he would raise the issue related to the desilting of the Gidderpindi Railway Bridge with the Union Railway Minister. He said the silt deposit under the bridge created havoc in people’s lives and property by flooding the area after a short period.
Quoting the Gurbani verse ‘Pawan Guru, Paani Pitaah, Mata Dharat Mahat’, the chief minister said that the great gurus have equated air (pawan) with the teacher, water (paani) with the father and the earth (dharat) to the mother. However, he said that we have deceived our great gurus by polluting all these three. Bhagwant Mann said the time has come when we must imbibe the teachings of Gurbani in our lives to restore the pristine glory of the state.
Paying homage to Sant Avtar Singh ji, the Chief Minister hailed his contribution to raising awareness of environmental protection. He said Sant Avtar Singh ji was a great religious leader and social reformer. Bhagwant Mann said he was lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in this event.
Hailing the wonderful services rendered by Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, the Chief Minister said that Baba ji has ushered in a new revolution to save the environment through his dedication and commitment. He said that the life of Sant Seechewal will always remain an inspiration to all of us in the times to come. Bhagwant Mann urged Sant Seechewal to continue this great work with the same missionary zeal.
Earlier, the Chief Minister also planted a sapling in the Nirmal Kutia.
Other dignitaries present at the occasion included Principal Secretary to Chief Minister A Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori, Deputy Inspector General of Police S Boopathi, Chief Superintendent of Police Swapan Sharma and others.
On the occasion, MPs Balkar Singh, Raman Arora and Sheetal Angural, former Punjab minister Joginder Singh Mann, women’s wing chairwoman Rajwinder Kaur Thiara, AAP leaders Sajjan Singh Cheema, Rattan Singh Kakkar Kalan, Dinesh Dhall and others were also present.