Polluted Kala Sanghia drain has poisoned lives, say residents

JALANDHAR: Hundreds of residents of villages located along the polluted Kala Sanghia drain approached senior environment engineer, Central Pollution Control Board J Chandra Babu to air their grievances.

On meeting Babu, who is also a member of the monitoring committee formed by NGT to look into pollution in Punjab rivers, they said pollution in the drain had made life difficult. Even underground water in their villages was polluted, they said.

Accompanied by PPCB and monitoring committee member Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, Babu visited the villages of Chamiara, Gazipur, Balerkhanpur, Fatehpur, Athola and Pind Khalewal. Earlier, Baba asked village residents to narrate the ordeal they have been facing over the last several years. Residents of Athola, Chamiara and other villages handed over signed representations to Babu. The polluted water of Kala Sanghia drain flows into Chitti Bein and then into the Satluj river.

The sarpanch and many residents of Athola village said the polluted train had deprived them of the right to life. ?We are falling prey to deadly diseases like cancer as ground water has been contaminated due to the polluted drain,? they said in the written representation.

They said they could not leave the village, which has become so notorious that they are finding it difficult to get their sons and daughters married. They sought immediate steps to check pollution of Kala Sanghia drain, compensation and free treatment to patients and arrangement of clean drinking water in the village. They also sought action against those responsible for pollution.

Nawan Pind Khalewal village resident Manmohan Singh said the bore of the submersible pump in his house is 150 feet deep but the water it is drawing is not clean. ?My brother Manpreet Singh is suffering from cancer and we have a strong suspicion that it was the polluted water which led to the disease,? he said, adding that several village residents are suffering from various diseases.

?We have been raising the issue of pollution in the drain for around two decades but little has changed despite promises and assurances by the official machinery,? said retired school principal Watan Singh of Gillan village.
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