Construction of Asbestos Plant in Muzaffarpur Stopped
Nine Left Parties Appeal to Bihar CM in Support of Ban Asbestos Struggle in Bihar
Incestuous Relation of Asbestos Company & Govt Condemned
Muzaffarpur/Patna/New Delhi, 1/2/2011: In the aftermath of the announcement of the stoppage of construction work for the hazardous Asbestos Cement Plant & imposition of Section 144 of Indian Penal Code in Chainpur-Bishunpur, Marwan, Muzaffarpur, nine political parties have sent a joint letter to the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seeking permanent closure of the asbestos factory. These parties sat on an unprecedented Mahadharana at the Muzaffarpur District Collectorate. The joint letter is attached.
It is a scientifically and medically established fact that the proposed Chrysotile (White) Asbestos based plant will cause preventable but incurable diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. So far more than 55 countries have banned asbestos of all kinds and UN agencies like WHO and ILO have sought elimination of future use of asbestos of all kinds including white asbestos. It is also a proven fact that safe and controlled use of asbestos is impossible.
This letter was read out today at a Mahadharana of thousands of people led by Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) [SUCI], Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPIML], Samajwadi Jan Parishad (SJP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPIM], Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (Liberation), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Forward Block, Marxist Communist Party of India (United) [MCPIU]. The joint letter seeks immediate intervention of the Bihar Chief Minister to prevent asbestos plant and expressed disappointment with the role of Union Environment Ministry and Bihar’s Environment Department.
The letter and Mahadharna of these parties expressed their support for the struggle of the villagers’ Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangharsh Committee which is underway for the last six months. This movement against the toxic asbestos plant has faced police atrocities including lathi charge and police firing. Initial objections against the proposed Asbestos Plant of Balmukund Cement & Roofing Ltd were raised in May 2010 when it was found that the company has indulged in fraudulent misrepresentation by referring to fertile land as barren land and misleading the villagers about the purpose of the acquisition of the agricultural field. The company has violated every provision of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006.
The speakers at the Mahadharna raised slogans like “Sushil Modi-N K Kanodia Murdabad”, District Magistrate Anand Kishore-Balmukund Murdabad” referring to the collusion between the Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Balmukund company’s owner and district administration. The Mahadharna was addressed by Asbestos Mukti Andolan/Ban Asbetsos Network of India (BANI) as well raising issues of other proposed asbestos plants in Bihar including:
1) Chennai based Ramco Industries Ltd for establishment of 1,20,000 MT/Annum Capacity of Asbestos Cement Sheet Plant and 2 Lakh MT/Annum Capacity of Cement Grinding Plant at Industrial Area, Bihiya, Bhojpur
2) Chennai based Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd for establishment of the One Lakh MT Capacity Asbestos Fiber Cement Corrugated Sheet, Flat Sheet and Accessories and Light Weight Fly Ash Block Plant at Industrial Growth Centre, Giddha, Ara, Bhojpur
3) Andhra Pradesh based Hyderabad Industries Ltd for establishment of 2,50,000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement Sheeting Plant in two Phases at Kumarbagh Industrial Area, West Champaran
4) Kolkata based Balmukund Cement & Roofings Ltd for establishment of 1.5 Lakh MT capacity production unit of Asbestos Fiber Cement Sheet (Corrugated/Flat) and Accessories at Chainpur-Bishunpur, Marwan, Muzaffarpur
5) Kolkata based UAL Industries Ltd for Establishment of 2, 33, 000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement Sheet and Corrugated Sheets Plant in two phases at Goraul, Vaishali in the name of UAL-Bihar. Earlier it was proposed at Bakhtiyarpur
6) Rajasthan based A Infrastructure Ltd for establishment of 1, 25, 000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement (A.C.) Sheet and 1,00,000 MT per year capacity A.C. Pressure Pipe at Pandaul Industrial Area, Madhubani. Earlier it was proposed in Industrial Area, Kumarbagh, Bettiah
The Mahadharna was presided over by Shiv Shankar, SUCI (Communist), Ajay Kumar Singh, CPI, Ram Pukar Sahni, CPIM, Sakal Thakur, CPIML (Liberation), Jagat Narain Rai, SJP, Uday Shanakr, CPIML, Chandra Mohan Prasad, MCPIU and Anawarul Haq, RSP. The Press Release issued on behalf of the nine parties in Hindi is also attached.
The Mahadharna and the joint letter demanded immediate closure of the factory, withdrawal of fake cases against the conveners of the villagers’ Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangharsh Committee, unconditional release of the arrested leaders of the Committee and sought action against the culprits who fired and lathi charged peaceful protestors including women.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India/Asbestos Mukti Andolan,
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