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Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) Exhorting the people to make Punjab clean, green and pollution free under the revamped ‘Mission Tandarust Punjab’, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday emphasized the need to develop synergy amongst all the line departments to achieve the desired goals for safer and cleaner environment.

Notably, the Chief Minister virtually launched the Statewide revamped 'Mission Tandarust Punjab' to kickstart slew of development projects worth Rs.115 crore to further capitalise on the success of the first phase of the Mission so as to make second phase more focussed by introducing 10 Sub-Missions spearheaded by separate Departments of the State. These sub-missions include Safe Food, Clean Water, Green Punjab, Road Safety, Nutrition, Waste Management, Khedo Punjab, Healthy Soil, Clean Air and Preventive Health.

In his address on the World Environment Day, the Chief Minister hoped that this initiative would lead to better coordination among all stakeholders viz. Punjab Government, Research Institutions, Industries, NGOs and general public to ensure sustainable and environment friendly model of development.

Recalling the first Sikh Guru Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's ideology "Pavan Guru, Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahat" (Air is the guru, water the father, and earth the mother), the Chief Minister underlined the intrinsic bond between nature and mankind.

Underlining the need to preserve this philosophy in letter and spirit to ensure that the future generations do not suffer from deadly diseases due to environmental pollution, as is evident from the prevailing air pollution causing several eye and lung ailments, said Captain Amarinder.

He appealed to one and all to preserve nature and natural resources, to make Punjab's environment pollution free in line with the Guru Ji's philosophy, by making optimal use of ground water, diversifying into less water-intensive crops, not burning paddy straw and checking use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. "All of us owe a sacred duty towards society to go for plantation of trees in a big way for our future generations", said Captain Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister also lauded the efforts of Mission Tandarust to check the unhealthy practice of adulteration of milk and dairy products adding he said it was our bounden duty to provide quality and safe food/dairy products to the people to ensure their good health and hygiene.

Showing concern over the pollution in the rivers, the Chief Minister said however with concerted efforts of environmentalists like Sant Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal and Head of the Namdhari Sect Baba Uday Singh has led to considerable improvement in the quality of water in river Kali Bein and Buddha Nala, which flows into Satluj river. He sought fulsome support and Cooperation from other NGOs for such a noble task.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister digitally laid the foundation stone of Waryana Dump Site Remediation Project in Jalandhar City at a cost of Rs. 35 crore apart from a Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) in Fazilka (Rs. 14.68 crore), Ajnala and Goraya (Rs. 6.25 crore each) and Garhdiwala (Rs. 3.14 crore). Besides, the Chief Minister also inaugurated Household Purifiers in 54 Arsenic affected villages of Amritsar and Gurdaspur at a cost of Rs. 4.85 crore which would benefit 72,000 villagers, an STP in Amritsar City (Rs. 32.23 crore), Green Area Development Project under Flyovers in Jalandhar City (Rs. 3.90 crore) and seven parks developed under Green Area Parks Development Project in Jalandhar City (Rs. 8.84 crore). The Chief Minister also launched an App on the revamped Mission Tandarust Punjab.

Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu apprised the Chief Minister that under special campaign launched for checking adulteration of milk and dairy products, we have succeeded in developing an ecosystem where the offenders cannot escape. He said our state lab is analyzing more than 15,000 samples of food articles in a year. We have upgraded the state of the art food lab at a cost of Rs. 15 crore besides 10 mobile food testing vans to ensure food safety and standards. Resultantly, food safety teams have collected 7507 samples out of which 5910 were found to be confirming to standards while 10, 836 Kg unsafe/adulterated items (Fruits, vegetables, sweets and other products) were seized and destroyed. He also mentioned that nearly 22000 online Food Business Operators have been imparted training related to food safety standards and hygiene rating introduced to ensure delivery of good quality food items to the consumers.

In his address, Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra highly appreciated the vision of Captain Amarinder Singh by launching the Mission Tandarust three years ago and now to widen its ambit for paving the way for a new and healthy Punjab.

Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Razia Sultana said that efforts were afoot to provide potable drinking water in all the quality affected villages through Community Water Purification Plants and Arsenic and Iron Removal Plants. She said all these water treatment plants would be made operational by September 30, 2021.

The President, Punjab Youth Congress Brinder Singh Dhillon said that youth should be involved in the environment awareness activities besides giving due recognition to their services in sensitizing people about the significance of environment friendly initiatives.

While proposing vote of thanks, Sports and Youth Services Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi urged the Chief Minister to institute an award for youth in recognition of their outstanding services for ensuring sustainable development in the State through various pro-environment initiatives. He said the enormous potential of youth must be optimally utilized to create awareness amongst masses especially in the rural areas about the harmful effects of stubble burning. He thanked the Chief Minister for including Khedo Punjab as sub-mission in the revamped Mission Tandarust.

Sodhi said nearly 1600 Green Playgrounds have been constructed and 13,724 morning wellness clubs formed in villages in order to boost the concept of ‘Healthy Body’.

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan in her introductory remarks briefly outlined the importance of Revamped Mission Tandarust and its implementation strategy to achieve the intended targets.

Principal Secretary Science, Technology and Environment Anurag Verma assured the Chief Minister of successful implementation of the revised Mission Tandarust program with the thrust on further improving the air and water quality so as to keep our citizens stay healthy and fit.

It may be recalled that the first phase of the ‘Mission Tandrust Punjab’ was announced in 2018 for improving the environment in the State, ensuring better health of the people of Punjab besides addressing the emerging challenges in environment, health and related sectors.

Earlier, the five participants including Kabaddi player Gurpreet Kaur, Gurtej Singh a progressive organic farmer, Brick Kiln owner Mukesh Nanda who introduced eco friendly zigzag technology, Food Analyst from State Food Laboratory Ravneet Kaur besides Sarpanch Kavita Sharma for undertaking massive tree plantation in her village, shared their experiences of Mission Tandarust Punjab with the Chief Minister regarding its positive impact on the day to day life of people from various sections of the society.

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