High court orders renewal of permit to Utkal asbestos plant in Bihar

Aggrieved residents likely to appeal against decision of single judge bench

By Alok Gupta
Published: Monday 28 October 2013

The Patna High Court on Monday ordered the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) to allow the construction of the asbestos plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) by renewing the no objection certificate to the firm within two months.

UAL is building its asbestos unit in Hajipur block in Vaishali district. The pollution control board had cancelled the NOC it had issued to the plant  because the under-construction plant is in close proximity to a village and a school.

The company had approached the high court against the cancellation of the NOC. The bench of justice Jayant Singh ordered BSPCB to renew NOC of the proposed unit. The court has also accepted UAL's plea to revive police cases against the protesters who ransacked the unit on December 16 last year.

Residents of affected villages in Vaishali had staged a violent protest against the proposed asbestos unit and had ransacked the building of the company. They had pointed out that the upcoming unit is barely 100 m to 200 m from a school and the nearest village. BSPCB officials, on the request of the villagers, measured the distance of the proposed unit from the village. The board found that the company had flouted the distance criteria and cancelled the NOC issued to UAL.

Anti-asbestos activist Gopal Krishna said that residents of the affected villages of Vaishali have decided to approach the division bench of the High Court to reverse the order.

Letter to Navin Kumar, Chief Secretary, Govt of Bihar from Medha Patkar on Utkal Asbestos Limited [UAL] in Vaishali, Bihar

Asbestos factory demolished in Vaishali, 55 countries have banned asbestos

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