Villagers set R&D centre near Pune on fire
On July 25, over 150 villagers entered Dow's upcoming research and development (R&D) centre in Shendi village near Pune, destroyed the partially-built compound wall, and set the facility on fire. The police have arrested 15 villagers on charges of vandalism. To keep the situation under control, the state rural police force has been deployed at the site.
Work on the facility had been stalled since January following protests by local residents and activists (see 'Carrot or stick', Down To Earth, April 30, 2008). Protesters say the project doesn't have the village panchayat's permission or an environmental impact assessment report. But they got incensed recently when Dow resumed construction with a huge police force. "Shendi is the holy place for the Varkari sect, who follow Sant Tukaram. They fear Dow will pollute the area, like it has done in Bhopal and gone scot-free...Despite repeated requests for the project report, we haven't received it. The company claims it will affect the nation's security," says Neeraj Jain of Remove Dow, Save Pune Movement--a campaign against Dow's proposed facility.
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