Cong MLA Sukhpal Khaira: Baba Seechewal Should Urge CM Mann To Scrap Ludhiana Textile Project

Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira, in a tweet, has requested the AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP and renowned environmentalist Baba Seechewal to urge CM Bhagwant Mann to scrap the Textile park project proposed in Ludhiana. In a tweet, Khaira quoted: 

“I request Baba Seechewal ji not to give up fight for Mattewara jungle on the pretext that its sub-judice with NGT. Activists have moved NGT against the Textile Park proposal which doesn’t prevent us from agitating against the govt!He should urge @BhagwantMann to scrap the project.”

What is this project about? 

In Ludhiana, a Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel Park have been envisaged as part of the PM-MITRA plan. The area needed for the project, which is being carried out jointly by the Central and the state government, is located next to the Mattewara forest and on the floodplains of the Sutlej river. The basic requirement of the project, as Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann said in the assembly, was the availability of a “contiguous and obstacle-free land block of 1,000 acres. 

The Punjab government has selected the area in tehsil Koom Kalan of Ludhiana to meet this requirement.” CM Bhagwant Mann stated, “PUDA has already bought 957.39 acres of land and the remaining area will also be acquired shortly.” According to the notification made by the Union Ministry of Textiles, a total of seven such parks will be built across the nation as part of the PM-MITRA with a total investment of Rs 4,445 crore. Additionally, the notification states that the project’s “aim” is to “achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9” through “sustainable industrialization” that is “environmentally friendly.”

CM Mann disclosed that while the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) had received 463 acres of government land from the villages of Ghari Fazal, Haider Nagar, and Garcha, another 493.99 acres of panchayat land from the villages of Sekhowal, Sailkiana, and Salempur had also been acquired after paying the appropriate compensation. This project was initially envisioned in 2020, under Captain Amarinder Singh’s previous Congress-led administration.

What is the concern of the opposition?

The Mattewara forest, which covers 2,300 acres, is frequently referred to as the district of Ludhiana’s “lungs” and is home to many different animal and bird species, including peacocks, sambhar, antelopes (nilgai), monkeys, deers, etc. The opposition is criticising and demanding the withdrawal of this project, claiming that it would disturb the natural resources and biodiversity. 

On the Sutlej River’s floodplains and close to the Mattewara Forest is where the proposed project would be developed. It borders the river Sutlej on one side and touches the Mattewara Forest on two sides. A lot of environmentalists, social workers as well as the opposition are worried that the proposal could not only harm the protected forest’s biodiversity but also cause factories to release chemicals into the river, which would pollute the river water and nature as well.

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