MAC: Mines and Communities

New Indian asbestos plants in the offing

Published by MAC on 2006-07-24

New Indian asbestos plants in the offing

Comment by Gopal Krishna, Toxic Links Delhi

24th July 2006

The continued support of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government of India, supported by Communist Parties, to the asbestos industry is quite evident. Asbestos is banned in over 40 countries. On 14th June, 2006 International Labour Organisation(ILO)appealed to the governments for a global ban on asbestos.

Irrespective of the global developments, the 54th meeting of the reconstituted Expert Committee (Industry) to be held on 26th & 27th July, 2006 will most likely give environmental clearance to Asbestos Cement Sheets at village Jejjur in District Krishna, A.P. by M/s Visaka Industries Ltd and Asbestos Cement Sheets and accessories (15.4 Lakh TPA) at Mahuvej, Mangrol, Surat, Gujarat by M/s New Sahyadari Industry Ltd.

The latter do not have a consent from the Gram Panchayat (villages council) and at the public hearing all the villagers opposed it. This plant is coming up on an agricultural land despite the fact that the industrial area is nearby. Unmindful of this the Gujarat Pollution Control Board has given clearance to it.

The former is owned by G Venkataswamy, the Deputy Leader of Congress Party in the Lok Sabha, a former Union Textile Minister and a trade union leader.

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