India

Scrapping Mattewada textile park project ‘most regressive’ step: Former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder

Former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday rued the scrapping of a proposed textile park project near the Mattewara forest area in Ludhiana, terming it as “the most regressive and short-sighted decision” by the AAP government.

“You don’t throw away the baby with the bath water”, he remarked in a statement while reacting to the government decision.

The decision was taken by CM Mann following a meeting in Chandigarh with the members of the Public Action Committee (PAC), an NGO which was spearheading a protest against the setting up of a mega integrated textile region and apparel park, citing environmental concerns given its proximity to Mattewara forest and Sutlej river.

Questioning the diatribe launched against the project, he clarified that the textile park was not to come up within the Mattewara forest area as was being said, but outside it. Singh claimed that all environmental concerns had been addressed according to the United Nations guidelines and only then was the park approved.

Singh regretted that the Aam Aadmi Party government, after initially deciding to go ahead with the project, had scrapped it, just because some people opposed it without any justification or without any technical and scientific knowledge about the environment.

The former Chief Minister said, “The Ludhiana Textile Park was one of the seven such parks coming up across the country. This textile park was set up with the specific objective of sustainable industrialisation that does not harm the environment, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal nine.”

He said, with such an approach, no industrialization can take place in Punjab, which is already scarce of land.

“When Punjab is reeling under such a financial crisis and investments are not coming, such a regressive decision will further discourage the industry from coming here”, Singh observed, while adding, such a crucial decision should not have been taken in such haste.

Moreover, he pointed out, the National Green Tribunal had already set up an expert committee to examine the project and objections raised from certain quarters. He said the government should have waited for its decision. He also expressed surprise as to how the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann took a U-turn after supporting the project and even announced funds for further land acquisition.

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