Sarpanches of 43 villages in Tapi district opposing the upcoming plant of Hindustan Zinc Company Limited allegedly waited for three hours to meet District Collector HK Vadhvaniya and left without meeting him.
The company is setting up its Doswada Zinc Smelter Plant at Doswada village in Songadh Taluka of Tapi district, with an estimated investment of Rs 6,000 crore in the first phase. Villagers of Doswada and its neighboring villages are opposing the project, raising pollution issues.
On Wednesday evening, the sarpanches of 45 villages under the banner of Adivasi Ekta and Vikash Andolan, along with its president Pragnesh Gamit, went to make a representation to the collector and were allegedly made to wait for three hours. Later they were informed to hand the memorandum to resident additional collector (RAC).
Gamit said, “The villagers fear health and water issues over the upcoming zinc plant in Doswada. We went to meet the collector but he did not give us time. We gave the memorandum to RAC, as told. We will take up the issue in the upcoming public hearing meeting to be called.”
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Vadhvaniya, however, said, “I was busy in an important meeting with the heads of other departments of the district.”
Recently, at a media interaction, Hindustan Zinc Company Limited director P Divakaran had said, “For Doswada Zinc Smelter Plant, we have done MoU with the state government and got around 400 acres of land at Doswada GIDC in Tapi district. The initial phase of investment is estimated to be Rs 6,000 crore… We are working on getting environmental clearance, which will take at least two months. We are hopeful of commissioning the plant in September or October 2023…”
On the issue of pollution, he had said, “We will run the plant with zero liquid discharge… the wastewater will be reused through the effluent treatment plant. There will be no air pollution. Even solid waste, which is iron slag, will be converted into by-products and sold in the market for use in the cement industry and brick industry. There will be over 4,000 people working in the plant and we will give preference to local youths…” He had assured of clearing the doubts of the villagers in the upcoming public hearing.
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