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, July 13, 2012

Visaka’s No Objection Certificate for Asbestos Plant in Sambalpur Cancelled

Press Release

Visaka’s No Objection Certificate for Asbestos Plant in Sambalpur Cancelled

Villagers oppose asbestos plant in Bargarh too

When will inquiry report of Indian Air Force in President’s helicopter collision with asbestos roof at Bhubneshwar airport be made public, to pave way for safety of soldiers in army, navy and air force

New Delhi 13/7/2012: ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) and Ban Asbestos India campaign welcome the cancellation of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) given to the Visakha Asbestos Industries in Parmanpur, Sambalpur, Odisha has been cancelled by the District Magistrate, Sambalpur. The NOC which was provided earlier by the previous Sarpanch has been found illegal. The Padmanav Nath, new Sarpanch has cancelled it. The DM has approved this cancellation. The picture of the plant site is enclosed. The news clippings from Sambalpur attached.

TWA has learnt that despite the cancellation of the NOC, the plant is still running. Authorities must act to ensure that the plant's illegal operations are stopped.

The panchayat committee had not approved the commissioning of the plant at the place. The former Sarpanch Surendra Barik had given approval without the knowledge and consent of peoples’ representatives in violation of the Odisha Gram Panchayat Act. On a petition with the District Panchayat Officer filed by newly elected Sarpanch, the officer thoroughly inquired the matter and declared the NOC to be illegal in his report.

The company got consent to operate after the previous NOC. It has applied for renewal of license with the Odisha State Pollution Control Board for extension of its capacity to 2, 50, 000 MT.

The asbestos cement factory in Parmanpur has been facing massive and unprecedented opposition by the villagers. The Visaka Asbestos Industries’ proposed plant to manufacture 216,000 tons per annum of Asbestos Cement Sheets at Mouza: Paramanpur, Taluq: Maneswar, Dist:Sambalpur is fraught with disastrous consequences for the villagers of Odisha.

TWA had written to Odisha State Human Rights Commission after Parmanpur Gram Surakshya Samiti informed it about the hazardous plant.

Villagers of Nuagan, Kendupali, Lebidi Mauza and several other villages are also resisting the the proposed hazardous asbestos cement roofing factory at Naagaon-Lebidi villages, Sohella Block, Bargarh district of Odisha under the banner of Paribesh Suraksha Parishad (JPSP). The company M/s Viswakarma Roofings Ltd. intends to establish 150,000 Tonnes Per Annum of Asbestos Cement Sheets Manufacturing Project at Bargarh.

TWA had also written to Chief Minister of Odisha urging him to stop asbestos cement plants in Odisha

Prior to TWA had written to the President and Governor, when Odisha Governor’s Helicopter had collided with the asbestos shade at the Bhubneshwar airport when he was travelling with Hon’ble President Mrs Pratibha Devi Singh Patil on December 9, 2009. Clearly, asbestos danger is lurking in every corner in Odisha. There was inquiry ordered into this collision by Indian Air Force, Union Ministry of Defense. TWA wants to know as to when will the inquiry report in President’s helicopter collision with asbestos roof in Bhubneshwar be made public.

In a letter to the President dated January 3, 2010, it was pointed out that “Our armed forces are at a grave risk of asbestos exposure because asbestos has been used extensively in their work places and residential places. In the Army and Air Force, asbestos is used in brake and clutch pads installed in everything from tanks to jeeps to aircraft. Asbestos is part of the insulation in housing and other buildings on military bases, electric wiring insulation aboard military planes, and fire retardant materials used by military firefighters and gunners. In the Navy, Merchant Marine, and Coast Guard, it is even more widely used, mainly as thermal insulation aboard ships. Asbestos is used in old and new constructed naval vessels.

The letter further observed, “Our Ministry of Defence, Navy, Army and Air Force must be asked to compile statistics for how many soldiers have died from asbestos related diseases, how many are suffering from it and how many face the danger of exposure which causes asbestos-related lung cancers and serious respiratory diseases. Our airmen, sailors and soldiers would feel betrayed by the armed forces and the government they served if they come to know that they faced asbestos exposure and government did nothing to save them.”

TWA demands immediate moratorium on new asbestos based plants, a plan to decontaminate the pre-existing asbestos from public and private buildings and a compensation fund for the victims of asbestos related diseases.

For Details: Bibhuti Nath, Parmanpur Gram Surakshya Samiti, Parmanpur, Mb: 09937863255
Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance-Ban Asbestos India, Mb: 9818089660,,,

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