Drug unit to shut

It polluted three Raigad villages for 30 years

By Reshma Jathar
Published: Friday 30 April 2010

The Bombay High Court has ordered closure of a drug manufacturing factory in Raigad district following a petition that said the factory has severely polluted three surrounding villages.

Residents of Munavali, Sogaon and Choronde villages had been complaining against Pradeep Shetya Pvt Ltd since it was established 30 years ago. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (mpcb) issued closure notices to the unit 14 times, but each time the management managed to open it, said Roshan Sane, who filed the petition in 2008.

Unchecked release of effluents from the unit has ruined farmlands. Paddy yield has reduced to one-fifth, said Sane. Deputy Sarpanch of Choronde, Ashok Naik, said his land got covered with a yellow-coloured substance in 1992. Since treating the soil was expensive, he sold off the land. Wastes from the factory have also poisoned the groundwater, Sane said; the residents are now dependent on tap water. Choronde residents also complained of breathing problems. In an affidavit to the court, Yashwant More, a former employee of Pradeep Shetya, said the factory makes banned chemicals—diamenazene diaceturate, meglumine and nitroxyhil. More was forced to resign after he asked for safety measures and medical services for workers. Factory owner Pradeep Shetya said he would restart the unit after introducing the changes suggested by mpcb.

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