Gujarat promotes asbestos
Gujarat promotes asbestosthe Gujarat government is keen on promoting the asbestos industry in the state despite worldwide ban due to increased health risks. Recently, it has given approval to a Pune-based asbestos-cement sheets manufacturing company, the New Sahyadri Industries Ltd (nsil), which will set up its unit at Mahuvej village in Surat's Mangrol district.
The plant is, however, facing stiff opposition because of allegations that the company has submitted a dubious environment assessment report for seeking clearance. Besides, the proposed plant is coming up on 10.34 hectares of agricultural land, though the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation Industrial area in Panoli is just 15 km away. "Inspite of an acute drinking water crisis in the village, the company has proposed to draw 265 cubic metres per day of groundwater to meet its water requirement," says M S H Sheikh, president of the Brackish Water Research Centre, a Surat-based ngo.
Villagers further claim that none of their queries were satisfactorily answered at the public hearing organised on January 24. The company has promised jobs to those who are going to lose their land to the plant; but it hardly speaks of the occupational health facilities and health policies for the factory workers, rue the villagers.
The proposed Mahuvej unit of nsil will have a production capacity of 15.4 lakh units per month. Asbestos is a proven carcinogen and linked with disease such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, cancer of the lung, etc.
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