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ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) for including environmental clearance conditions in the Companies Bill

Written By Krishna on Thursday, March 08, 2012 | 3:10 AM

Presenting case studies of hazardous waste trade being incorporated in free trade agreements (FTAs), killer asbestos factories, ship breaking activity, incinerator plants in the national capital, questionable hydro project in Kosi and underlining the supreme advantages of public consultation, Gopal Krishna of ToxicsWatch Alliance(TWA) fixed liability for damages from industrial projects on Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and recommended inclusion of environmental clearance conditions in the Companies Bill, 2011.

Elaborating on the significance of the "winding up" of a hazardous asbestos based plant in Chainpur-Bishunpur, Marwan Block, Muzaffarpur, Bihar for first the time in India. The plant of Balmukund Cement Roofing Ltd was stopped with the joint effort of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangharsh Committee, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), Citizens Forum, Muzaffarpur, Citizens Forum, Patna, several left and socialist parties guided by Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and the National Alliance of People's Movement.

Struggles are underway to stop other asbestos plants in Bihar where Utkal Asbestos Ltd has proposed it Rampur-Rajdhari, Chaksultan (near Panapur), Goraul Block, Vaishali, Hyderabad Industries Ltd in Kumarbagh, Champaran, in Pandaul, Madhubani.

In Bhojpur’s Bihiya, asbestos plants have been set up with 120, 000 MT/annum capacity of Asbestos Cement Sheet Plant and 200, 000 MT/annum capacity of Asbestos Grinding Plant in the project area of 20 acres.The land is allotted by the state government on lease for 90 years. The plant has been established by Tamil Nadu based Ramco Industries Ltd. On May 10, 2010, the project was discussed by the Experts Appraisal Committee (EAC), Industry. In the minutes of the EAC, there explicit reference to "Health Management Plan for Mesothalimoa, Lung cancer and Asbestosis related problems in asbestos industries", till this has not been done. The EIA report of this project has not been made public. At the time of public hearing, the activists from an environmental organisation, Prakriti Nikunj wished to raise public health concerns from the proposed hazardous asbestos based plant. They were manhandled and removed from the site of the public hearing and kept in the local police station till the hearing was over. State government feels that an investment of Rs 60.20 crore is more important than the public health of the workers, their families and the villagers of the area.

In Bhojpur's Giddha village, Tamil Nadu based Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd has established the 100, 000 MT Capacity Asbestos Fiber Cement Corrugated Sheet, Flat Sheet and Accessories and Light Weight Fly Ash Block Plant with the investment of Rs 31 crore. It was cleared by SIPB on October 19, 2009. The EIA of this project is not in public domain. No one in the area knows about its public hearing.

In Pandaul, Madhubani Rajasthan based A Infrastructure Ltd has got approval for establishment of 1, 25, 000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement.

Gopal Krishna of TWA was speaking at a 2-day conclave in New Delhi organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) during 24-24 February 2012. TWA is an applicant in the National Human Rights Commission in seeking compensation for asbestos victims and closure of the killer asbestos industry. It has been making efforts to ensure that fiscal incentives given to the industry by the Union Finance Ministry in the Budget is withdrawn. It has been lobbying with the State governments to stop procuring asbestos products.
Canada's Ugly Secret

For decades, Canadians have known how dangerous asbestos can be. It can cause severe respiratory problems, even lung cancer, which is why there isn't much of a market for Canadian asbestos here at home. But there is in India, where it's used with practically no safety regulations, and without warnings that it can be deadly. So why is Canada the last developed nation to still sell such a dangerous substance?
Asbestos Cement sheet cutting, Pondicherry

Canada exports deadly asbestos to poor countries even though it is illegal in Canada!

Making homes out of broken bits of asbestos sheeting

Platinum-II (SS Oceanic SS Independence) in Indian waters for Ship Breaking

Despite the efforts of TWA and the assurance of Union Minister of Environment & Forests that Platinum-II (a toxic US ship indicted in USA)will not be allowed to beach at Alang sea shore, the vessel remained at Gopnath Anchorage Point in Bhavnagar although it had entered Indian waters on evidently fake documents. TWA's case is still pending in the court. Currently more than 200 ships are standing on Alang beach. Most of them have entered Indian waters on fake documents.
Alang beach-a graveyard for workers

TWA has been campaigning against dumping of hazardous wastes and dead ships in India. It was involved in the successful campaign against French air craft carrier, Le Clemenceau. It is an applicant in the hazardous wastes/shipbreaking case in the Supreme Court.
Union Environment Minister Visits Okhla waste to energy incinerator & admits mistake

Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit puts Delhi citizens under toxic trap

On News X, news channel, Union Environment Ministry passes the buck to Delhi CM
Local Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit pretends ignorance
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Chairman admits, its a polluting plant
BJP's Leader of Opposition, Prof. Vijay Kumar Malhotra seeks demolition of the plant
TWA says, this Dioxins emitting plant violates all the national and international rules besides Supreme Court order

Despite this this hazardous incinerator plant in residential area has not been stopped. It started operating from January 1, 2012.
TWA has been fighting against this plant and other such polluting plants across the country which claim fraudulent carbon credit. Besides Okhla, there are two more such toxic factories planned in Delhi's Narela-Bawana and Ghazipur.
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