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NGT directs status-quo on cement factory

HISTORIC JUNBEEL MELA SITE

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 21: The tiol Green Tribul, Kolkata bench on Monday directed Alstom Industries to maintain staus-quo in the construction of cement factory at Jagiroad in Morigaon district.

Hearing a petition (No-18/2017/EZ), filed by Baghjap Tribenee Sangh and Library,  the Kolkata bench of NGT asked Alstom Industries and other parties of the State government to maintain status-quo regarding operation of the cement factory established at the historic Junbeel Mela site at Baghjap village near Jagiroad in Morigaon district.

Representing the applicants, counselor Bhaskar Dev Konwar, contended before the NGT bench that the factory site is close to the site of Junbeel water body where the historic Mela is held, temples and schools are located near the site and the Kopili river flows close by. Although local villagers protested against establishment of the cement factory, no action was taken by the concerned departments.

Baghjap Tribenee Sangh and Library who filed the petition before NGT had also stated that the migratory birds coming to the area would suffer and the Junbeel Mela lose its identity due to setting up of the cement industry in the area.

“It is not known as to how the authorities could have allowed for establishment of such a polluting industry which is categorized as Red Category Club (i.e. most polluting industry according to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Central Pollution Control Board) in an ecologically sensitive area,” stated the petitioner.

The petition also contended that the cement factory would have adverse impact on local farmers and fishermen, who will face hardship in their earning livelihood. Besides, visits of migratory birds were found to have decreased substantially this year due to construction activities of the cement factory, the petition pointed out.

The Principal Secretary, State Environment and Forests Department along with the Pollution Control Board, Assam and the Deputy Commissioner, Morigaon district have also been made party respondents in the case.

The NGT also issued show-cause notices to the parties as to why the interim order shall not be made absolute. The next hearing of the case has been fixed on March 23.

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Ankur Kalita