Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Orissa Govt alloted land for asbestos plant illegally

Konark Cement and Asbestos Limited had been fraudulently allotted land by the goverment for their industrial units in Orissa

Actually, it is Utkal Asbestos Ltd (UAL) that manufacturers Of Konark Asbestos Cement Sheets & Accessories. It is this very company that was given environmental excellence award by the West Bengal Government.

The Orissa government provides subisidy on asbestos products. In 2004, UAL’s plant at Dhenkanal, Orissa, received an ‘Excellence Award’ from the Government of Orissa.

Ministry of environment and forests, of the United Progressive Alliance Govt at the centre has accorded Environmental clearance to UAL Bengal, Prop. UAL Industries Limited., for expansion of their production capacity for manufacturing of Asbestos Cement Sheets and Acessories at their unit situated at Guptamani, Tungadowa, district Midnapore (W), West Bengal, vide letter dated 24th January 2006.

There is political consensus to promote asbestos at any human cost. Since 1980 Utkal Asbestos Limited which has its name to UAL Industries Limited from January , 2006 has been manufacturing Asbestos Cement Corrugated sheets and accessories under the Brand ‘Konark’.

The company is currently in the process of setting up another plant at Uttar Pradesh.

The multi-crore industrial land scam rocked the Orissa Assembly on December 15, 2008 with the Opposition demanding a high-level probe.


“The Naveen Patnaik government claims to have provided a clean administration. Perhaps this land scam is the brightest example of the clean administration,” said firebrand Congress member Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra while moving an adjournment motion on the matter.

Mohapatra said the state-owned Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation was entrusted with allotment of land to the industrial units in Bhubaneswar.

However, the corporation had not adopted any transparent policy and allotted land to industries arbitrarily, he alleged.

Citing a few instances, the Congress legislator said while Delhi-based Unitech Private Limited had been allotted 10 acres at a rate of Rs 21.1 crore per acre, a few other companies like Silicon, Centurion Institute of Technology and Prem Pratisthan had been provided land with a premium of Rs 6 lakh per acre. Two acres have been allotted to Team India Private Limited at a price of Rs 37.29 lakh, he said.

Several technical education institutions have been allotted industrial land, alleged Mohapatra. One private firm has constructed residential house and swimming pool on the land allotted for industrial purpose, he added.

Opposition whip Satya Bhusan Sahu said a House Committee had been constituted two years ago to probe into alleged irregularities in the allotment of industrial land. However, the committee had met only twice, he rued.

Sahu said Konark Cement and Asbestos Limited had been allotted 17 acres for only Rs 10.71 lakh for setting up an industrial unit. However, it was later allowed to run an engineering college on the land. Besides, 710 acres were allotted in favour of the company regularising encroachment, he alleged.

Industries minister Biswa Bhusan Harichandan assured the members that a probe would be undertaken if they came up with specific allegations on irregularities in land allotment.

He also promised to provide the details within a month relating to land allotment with the name of allottees and the land price and whether the land has been utilised properly.

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