Having drawn flak from various quarters for its decision to remove noted environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal as member of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the state government on Saturday ordered his re-nomination.
"On the directives of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the PPCB on Saturday renominated noted environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal as its member, with immediate effect," a spokesperson for the Chief Minister's Office said.
Seechewal was removed from the PPCB panel after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a penalty of Rs 50 crore on the Punjab government for pollution in the Sutlej and Beas rivers. Seechewal was one of the members who prepared the report on pollution of rivers following which the NGT imposed the penalty.
Amarinder also ordered nomination of two environmentalists on the PPCB panel instead of one as prescribed in the earlier guidelines of the Board, "so as to widen the ambit of its functioning to tackle the menace of environmental pollution across the state far more efficaciously", the spokesperson added.
"With this decision, the PPCB would now have two environmentalists, Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal and recently nominated member Baba Sewa Singh, the chairman of the Nishan-e-Sikhi Charitable Trust, Khadoor Sahib," he added.
The PPCB currently has 18 members, including chairman, five administrative secretaries from different government departments, five representatives from the local authorities, four members as representatives from industry, trade, commerce and fisheries etc, two members from the state controlled and managed corporations, besides a member secretary.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had on Friday condemned the Congress government for removing Seechewal as PPCB member.
"It is especially painful that the religious personality who had rejuvenated the Kali Bein rivulet associated with Guru Nanak Dev had been insulted in such a manner on the 550th birth anniversary of the great saint," the SAD said.