School makes students clean canal without permission

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A shocking incident occurred in Ludhiana, Punjab where school students were taken to clean a canal without permission. According to a report by Hindustan Times, authorities of Guru Nanak Public School (GNPS), Sarabha Nagar, took over 150 students from Classes 9 and 10 inside the Sidhwan Canal and initiated a cleanliness drive without permission from the irrigation department or civic body.

As per the daily, the students reached the almost 15-foot canal bed with the help of an iron ladder fixed on the canal wall and collected waste.

A city-based environmentalist told HT that the canal remains highly contaminated due to the dumping of waste. Since students did not wear any protective gear during the cleanliness drive, the environmentalist added that this would have caused skin problems or any other disease to the students.

Some environmentalists shared the videos and pictures with civic authorities, following which a team of MC and irrigation department officials reached the canal, and the students and teachers were asked to evacuate the site.

Deputy commissioner Surabhi Malik has ordered an inquiry into the incident whereas municipal commissioner Shena Aggarwal imposed a fine of 25,000 on the school for setting the waste on fire.

Meanwhile, school principal Gurbhej Singh Nagi denied setting any material on fire at the canal bed. He said that the cleanliness activity was being carried out under the Puneet Nagar Abhiyan (PNA).

Nagi also gave a reference to a letter received from the director general of NCC regarding conducting a cleanliness drive under PNA.

As per the letter (first received on October 3), the NCC had asked all the schools to send success storie, photos and videos of environmentally-friendly activities being conducted. A similar letter was also issued on November 21, asking the school to send five photos and two videos by November 30, the Hindustan Times said.

MC commissioner Shena Aggarwal said burning garbage is illegal and National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken strict note of the same in the past. “A challan of 25,000 has been issued against the school principal’s name as per Solid Waste Management and Sanitation Bylaws,” she added.

Aggarwal added that field staff has also been directed to keep a vigil and issue challans to anyone caught dumping or burning garbage in and around the canal.

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