Six years after forcing a company to shelve its proposed cement plant, thousands of farmers of Mahuva and Talaja talukas of Bhavnagar lodged their protest against UltraTech Cement Ltd’s proposed limestone mining projects in their coastal villages at two public hearings held on Wednesday. Their prime concern is that the mining will damage the natural barrier against salinity ingress.
UltraTech Cement Ltd (UCL), the flagship company of Aditya Birla Group, has proposed to mine limestone from around 1,700 hectare area spread over coastal Mahuva and Talaja talukas. The company has sought environment clearance (EC) for this proposed mining sites by dividing the area into three different projects.
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As part of the environment impact assessment (EIA) process to secure EC, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), the environment watchdog of state government, held public hearings for Bambhaor and Nicha Kotda sites on Thursday. About 7,000 people turned up for the first site of hearing and about 3,500 at the second site of hearing. Most of them objected to the projects. Some of them have pointed out errors in the draft EIA report also… Whatever objections people have raised will be minitised and made part of EIA report and then the company will be given a chance to reply to those objections,” Aayush Oak, in-charge district collector of Bhavangar, told The Indian Express. Oak presided over both the public hearings. Public hearing for the third site at Janjmer is scheduled for Thursday.