The protesters, who have been sitting on a dharna in front of the distillery and ethanol plant in Mansurwal village of this district for nearly five months, refused to lift the dharna on Saturday despite minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal reaching out to them.
The Punjab minister for Rural Development and Panchayat assured the protesters on all the decisions which were agreed upon between their delegation and the government.
Villagers with the support of some farmer unions have been holding the protest in front of the plant in Mansurwal village, seeking its closure while claiming that it was polluting underground water in several villages in the area, besides causing air pollution.
The protest is being held under the banner of the Sanjha Zira Morcha since July 24.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had on Friday evening held a meeting with a delegation of agitators in Chandigarh to address their issues.
While interacting with the protesters on Saturday, Dhaliwal assured them of protecting their interests and added special fact-finding committees comprising experts from various fields will be set up in this regard.
Earlier in the meeting of the protesters held with the CM, the state government had decided that the residents will be given another opportunity to present their case including objections relating to the plant before one of the committees.
In the meeting, it was also decided to constitute an expert committee from Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana to ascertain the declining productivity of crops and another committee comprising experts from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot to check out spread of diseases as alleged by the protesters.
According to sources, the chief minister had also assured them to constitute another committee of experts from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) Ludhiana to find out the reason behind the deaths of the cattle during the recent times and other committee of high-level officials to check contamination of water in the area near Mansurwal as alleged by the protesters.
Later, while exhorting the protesters to shift the dharna 300 metre away in accordance with the instructions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Dhaliwal said the state government was committed to protecting the environment and provide safe potable water to them, however, they should follow the orders of the court.
After talking to the protesters, Dhaliwal went back without any final outcome on the further course of action.
Earlier the situation had remained tense during the last two days and heavy police had been deployed at the dharna site.
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