Political party’s manifesto comes under fire for not taking environmental issues into consideration

Tribune News Service

P.K. Jaiswal

Amritsar, May 25

All the leading candidates from various political parties have released vision documents promising all-round development of the holy city, but have not mentioned the environment. With people facing environmental challenges globally, the holy city of Amritsar cannot remain immune to the impact.

Environmentalists are appalled by the political parties’ apathetic attitude towards such an urgent issue. “How can you imagine development without a sustainable environment where there is no clean and safe drinking water, no clean air to breathe and no polluted land,” said Jagmohan Singh, director of India Global NGO Forum. Environment should be a priority for politicians, he said. “Most parts of Amritsar face the problem of polluted water sources and garbage dumps on every corner,” he added.

Rising air pollution is a global phenomenon leading to dramatic climate change and Punjab is no exception. Ironically, protecting the environment comes last on the priority list of candidates from the Indian National Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and other important political parties.Dr. Inderjit Kaur, President, All India Pingalwala Charitable Society

“In Punjab, 108 of 146 blocks fall under the dark zone. In Amritsar alone, 10 of the 15 blocks fall under this category,” Jagmohan said. He said Punjab would face a severe water crisis in the next 10 to 15 years.

“Increasing pollution is a global phenomenon leading to rapid climate change and Punjab is no exception,” said Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the All India Pingalwala Charitable Society, which also works to spread awareness about environment conservation.

“It is ironic that environment protection is at the bottom of the priority list of political party candidates, be it the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party or any other significant party,” she said. Ideally, they should have included the issue in their manifestos and pledged to play their role in this regard.

The Pingalwala Society is already working on a model of environmental conservation and proper use of natural resources. The Society recently released an environmental manifesto questioning candidates on various environmental issues in the city.

Another environmental activist, Rajbir Singh, said if the government does not take proper measures to address the rising pollution levels in the near future, the next generation will have nothing left.

“When we talk about the all-round development of Amritsar, it includes the environment too. We have covered the Tun Dab drain and undertaken to make the city garbage-free. All these relate to environmental issues,” said former ambassador and BJP candidate Taranjit Singh Sandhu. “We have all our plans to develop a city that will set an example for the country like Indore,” he said.

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