Warrior Moms Write :
Sh. Lal Chand Kataruchak
Minister of Forest and Wildlife Punjab 23rd May 2022
I would like to mention that we are a collective of mothers called Warrior Moms, fighting for our children to live and breathe in a pollution free environment. The recent announcement of Mattewara Textile Park, Koom Kalan, Ludhiana has shocked us because as you are already aware that textile industries are the major polluters in the world. We all know that this is allocated in the flood plains of the Satluj river. Our concern is that Punjab is already suffering from cancer and our children’s life is in jeopardy. To save the children of Punjab, we request you to shift the Industrial Textile Park from this area and take it further from water bodies to a less fertile area.
We would also like to state that according to India’s State of Forest Report 2019, Punjab’s recorded forest area is 6% or less. As you know, less than 6% of the Punjab land is covered by forest and introducing such projects will destroy the ecological balance, which in turn, will affect the health of the state which is already suffering a major health crisis like cancer, lung diseases, asthma etc. As we know that water is a major factor of concern to Punjab and polluted water from Satluj river will cause further destruction, hence we feel that various social activists, villagers, environmentalists, civil society who are protesting against the project, and raising their voices should be heard. The land around 407 acres of village Sekhowal was acquired against the wishes of the Gram Sabha.
The main damages caused by the textile industry to the environment, however, are those resulting from the discharge of untreated effluents into the water bodies which normally constitute 80% of the total emissions produced by this industry. In the composition of most of the residual waters of the textile industry there are relatively high levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). The greater emphasis should be attributed to the large amount of non-biodegradable organic compounds, especially textile dyes.
The dyes are soluble organic compounds, especially those classified as reactive, direct, basic and acids. They exhibit high solubility in water making it difficult to remove them by conventional methods. One of its properties is the ability to impart color to a given substrate because of the presence of chromophoric groups in its molecular structures. However, the property of fixing the color to the material is related to the auxotrophic groups, which are polar and can bind to polar groups of textile fibers.
The color associated with textile dyes not only causes aesthetic damage to the water bodies, but also prevents the penetration of light through water which leads to a reduction in the rate of photosynthesis and dissolved oxygen levels affecting the entire aquatic biota. The textile dyes also act as toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic agents, persist as environmental pollutants and cross entire food chains providing biomagnification, such that organisms at higher trophic levels show higher levels of contamination compared to their prey. In this sense, special mention should be made to azo-type textile dyes which, around 15–50%, do not bind to the fabric, during the dyeing process, and are released into wastewater which is commonly used, in developing countries, for the purpose of irrigation in agriculture. The use of these azo compounds is very negative to soil microbial communities (Imran et al., 2015) and to germination and growth of plants.
In spite of the National Green Tribunal’s directions, Punjab Government has completely ignored these directions. Rather than solving the problem the authorities have come up with a new project called Mattewara Textile Park.
Mattewara Textile Park, Modern Industrial Park, Koom Kalan Mega Textile Park are all names of one destructive idea being planned on the bank of River Sutlej on its floodplain adjacent to Mattewara Forest. The Govts of Punjab and India have finally announced the idea after keeping it secretive for more than a year. The battle has been raging both in the public domain as well as in the NGT. I would also like to mention that a kilogram of fibre both cotton and polyester requires 100 to 150 litres of water and 2,273 litres of water is used for the production of just one pair of jeans. Textile producers frequently dump waste water directly into waterways, hence the choice of river Sutlej. This contaminated water from textile industries contain hormone altering chemicals, colored dyes, and cleaning solvents that alter the pH, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorous levels in rivers. This contamination has been linked to increased rates of cancer, asthma, and workers have experienced second and third degree burns from handling chemicals.
The Government has unfortunately chosen the most eco-sensitive area of Ludhiana for the project. Its Nature vs Destruction in the name of development. On one side, there are the flood plains of Sutlej river, it’s water quality, the drinking water issues of South Punjab, the biodiversity of Mattewara, the forests of Punjab, the underground water of Punjab, the environment of Punjab and its climate change threats, and on its opposite side is the Textile Industrial Park.
It is pertinent to mention that building a wall around the Industrial Park will not help in checking the air, land and water pollution around the area. This will
only lead to the destruction of the forest which have the native varieties of trees, flora and fauna and home to some of the exotic species of animal life. Punjab needs to increase its forest cover to solve the water crisis and not the slow poisoning of its people, forests and animal life.
Keeping the above-mentioned concerns, we are certain that the interest of the water-depleted state will be kept in first and foremost mind and this project should be stalled.
In the past few years, the state of pollution in the rivers have gone from bad to worse wherein industries have been directly discharging untreated waste into the rivers which has polluted the rivers to such an extent that the water is not even usable anymore and has become a cause of increase in medical conditions in the region and down South Punjab.
India currently has 49 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance. The Industrial Textile Park being set up in Mattewara forest will directly impact the wetlands of Harike Pattan .
We are sure that the Government of Punjab will give this issue a priority keeping in mind the repercussions mentioned in this letter and positive steps will be taken by the government to ensure the well-being of the state of Punjab. And transfer the Textile Park to a place further from water bodies and fertile land.
Samita Kaur (Warrior Moms)
Meeting of Environmentalists with Forest Minister, Punjab
A meeting was held with Hon’ble Shri Lal Chand Kataruchak, Minister of Forest, Government of Punjab at Forest Complex Sector 68,Sahibjada Ajit Singh Nagar on 24 May 2022 at 13.30 pm with various organizations Pursuing the cause of Saving Mattewara Forest, Ludhiana.
Hon’ble Lal Chand Kataruchak, Minister Department of forest and wildlife Preservation, Government of Punjab .
Smt Raji P Shrivastava , IAS ,Additional Chief Secretary –cum- Financial Commissioner , Department of Forest and wildlife, Government of Punjab.
Shri. Parveen Kumar, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.
Shri Rajiv Prasher, IAS, Special Secretary, Forest and wildlife, Government of Punjab.
Delegation led by Col C M Lakhanpal, Col Jasjit Singh, Jaskirat Singh, Amandeep Singh Bains, Amarjeet Wallia , Samita kaur alongwith other esteem members from Organisations mentioned below:
- Public Action Committee
- Warrior Moms
- Mein Punjabi
- AGAPP – Action Group Against Plastic Pollution
- Bhartiya Kisan Union (Shaheed Bhagat Singh)
- Youth Empowerment Federation
- Mission Gram Sabha
- We Support Our Farmers
- Urban Green Ludhiana
- Vigilant Citizens Forum
Minutes of the meeting :
- Present Status/Degradation of Mattewara Jungles was presented before the Minister alongwith Status of Mattewara Flood Plains and its Impact on existing Historical Jungles and
- Serious Impacts of Proposed Mattewara/Koom Kallan Textile Park on Flood Plains and Jungles, which is the most Eco Sensitive Area of Ludhiana/Punjab.
- Suggestions for Shifting of Textile Park to Alternate Site, Boost existing Resources of Mattewara Flood Plains, Jungles and Biodiversity and Priotize the preservation of the present Encourage Eco tourism.
- Zero Pollution (Directly/Indirectly) to River Satluj. Needs to be stringently monitored. As the tributaries of the river goes to South Punjab and Harike
- Encouraging Agro Forestry in the Bringing livelihood to the local people.
- Intensive Tree Plantation astride River By using native trees of Punjab.
- Raising of Ecological Task Force (TA Bns).
Important Points that came up during discussion
- Pursuing the Issue against the Implementation of a badly conceived Mattewara/Koom Kallan Integrated Industrial Project/ Textile Park. Which is totally disregards the environmental norms.
- Three Government Agencies actively pursuing the interests of the Industrial, Urban Development and Minning Lobbies in the Mattewara Region of Koom Kallan Tehsil of Ludhiana District . The Government Agencies involved are PUDA,GLADA and
- Forest department is already engaged in corrective action in regards to forest
- Traditional Varieties of Trees may be considered for forestation purposes. Which are native to Punjab e. originally found in Punjab.
- MGNAREGA could be used for tree plantation but under the forest
- Shamlat Panchayat Land may be used for increase in forest
- Since resolving the forest issue will require multi department engagement hence the minutes to be shared with all the concerned departments. As Proper coordination is required for the smooth functioning and to prioritise this issue.
- Alternative sight of a less fertile land could be used for the Proposed Industrial Textile
- Land which was allocated earlier for setting up industry but has been converted to commercial or residential use needs to be taken up by the concerned departments and ensure that allocated land is used for the purpose for which it was originally
- There should be a detailed survey of Matewara forest in order to understand the present day situation and how slowly but steadily forest cover is being
- Setting up of industrial park will also result in blocking the flood plains as a result of which the ecological balance could be disturbed. And will result in major natural calamity as the above Project is proposed on the Flood Plains of Satluj
- Industrial Park also jeopardise is Ramsar site – Harike Pattan and would result in ecosystem damage beyond the point of recovery. As the wetlands are already under the patronage of WWF it is all the more reason to make this issue a
- The Gang Canal leads to water related diseases in 10 districts of Rajasthan and this is because of the industrial pollution in the canal. Which again is a concern of Major Health issue this will lead to a national level issue and Punjab will be held responsible for it.
- Matewara forest needs to be preserved as it is an ancient forest with varieties tracing back in The trees here have a mention in Guru Granth Sahib as well. And as a legend goes both Guru Nanak Dev ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji had blessed this land.
- Save the Depleting and last surviving Environment and Ecological Resources of
- Speed up demarcation to set up Buddah Dariya
- Importance of Flood plains to understand and safeguard the region from the havoc caused by
- Shut Existing polluting industry like it was done with dyeing factories in Tirupur 15 years back due to it’s impact on the health of the state of Tamil Nadu.
- There was immense support rendered by the Hon’ble Minister, the Additional Chief Secretary as well as PCCF Dept of Forests and wildlife and other concerned senior officers. The delegation, in view of the multi departments involved and already an emergent situation arising, decided to request and seek an urgent meeting with The Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Punjab.
- The delegation extended a vote of thanks to Departmental officials and various organizations for travelling long distances to participate in the noble urgent cause of Preserving the Last Surviving forest of Mattewara, Ludhiana,
Attanhments With this MOM Email to be share with Various Department Ministers and secretaries
- Shifting of Textile Park from Koom Kalan, Ludhiana
- Mattewara Forest_16th May 2022 (2)
- International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 5, Issue 2, February 2015
Warrior Moms,AGAPP – Action Group Against Plastic Pollution,Youth Empowerment Federation,Sangharsh,Mission Gram Sabha,We Support Our Farmers,SFDOST initiative,Public Action Committee,Urban Green Ludhiana,Vigilant Citizens Forum
ENVIROMMENTALIST ACTIVISTS QUOTE THE FOLLOWING RESEARCH
|International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 5, Issue 2, February 2015