In Ludhiana, there is uproar and resentment growing from the people of Panjab who are voicing their concern regarding the recently approved industrial park in Mattewara. It has been feared that the approval by the Hindutva controlled Panjab cabinet will see this industrial park use the land of the Mattewara forest which could potentially cause deforestation, decimation of wildlife and destruction to agriculture and wildlife.

According to figures which have become available, ‘out of the approximate 1000 acres which will be used for the industrial park, 207.07 acres belong to the animal husbandry department, 286.1 acres to rehabilitation department (potato seed farm), 416.1 acres belongs to the gram panchayat of Sekhowal, 27.1 acres belongs to the gram panchayat of salempur (potato seed farm) and 20.3 acres belongs to the gram panchayat Sailklan.

Kuldeep Khaira, who is a social activist and environmentalist has said that “We are totally against setting up of this industrial park at the cost of Mattewara forest as the result of destroying this forest will be devastating and it will be impossible to reverse the impact it will have on our environment.”

Ravneet Singh, who runs an NGO called Eco Sikh said that “It is very disturbing to hear that Panjab government is planning to use Mattewara forest area for industrial expansion. There is only 4% forest area left in the state.”

APS Mann who is a retired professor, said that “It is the duty of the people of Panjab to save Mattewara jungle. Already, the water bodies of Ludhiana, Sutlet and Buddah Nullah have been destroyed and now this is the last remaining forest too is on the verge of destruction. If we fail to act now and save the Mattewara forest, the future generations will never pardon us therefore we must act before its too late.

The Hindutva regime seems to be doing everything it possibly can through the Panjab government to literally destroy our homeland. Let alone attack our way of life and minorities, they want to totally decimate Panjab and turn it into ashes. They have no care for the environment let alone the existence of minorities. This issue needs to be raised where possible as soon as possible.

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