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Soot from tar factory blackens Singur

Hundreds of residents in Singur,who live close to the abandoned Tata Motors Nano factory,had to go through a terrible experience on Monday night when thick black soot from a nearby chemical factory filled the air and gradually engulfed the vast area.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata |
June 9, 2010 3:26:21 am

Hundreds of residents in Singur,who live close to the abandoned Tata Motors Nano factory,had to go through a terrible experience on Monday night when thick black soot from a nearby chemical factory filled the air and gradually engulfed the vast area.

By early Tuesday morning,the thick black soot emanating from the factory of Himadri Chemicals that produces tar,bitumen and napthalene had covered several ponds,drinking water sources and fields in the nearby area of Mahistikri and Singhal Pathan with a black layer.

Some of the residents fell sick and complained of headache and vomiting. “There is a terrible stench. Over a dozen of our villagers,including children and women,have fallen sick. We have brought medicines from a local clinic,” said Bhaskar Dhara,a resident of Mahistikri village.

Irate villagers first gheraoed the factory and ransacked a part of its compound,forcing it to shut down temporarily. The villagers then forced two of the factory’s managers — Asit Mukherjee and Amar Tiwari — to accompany them to see the havoc created by the factory. Tiwari was later locked up and beaten by the villagers. This led the factory management to lodge a police complaint against the villagers.

According to the villagers,this was not for the first time that the factory failed to abide by the pollution norms. “The factory dumps its residues in our fields and we have complained to the state pollution control board on numerous occasion,” said Dhara.

Bhaskar Mondol,a managerial staff,said a portion of the chimney had broken down leading to the release of black soot into the open air. “We took immediate action,” Mondol added.

Meanwhile,Superintendent of Police (Hooghly) Satyajit Bandopadhyay said that a police team has been deployed in the area. “We have initiated an investigation,” he added.

Pollution Board slaps notice
The state Pollution Control Board (PCB) has begun an inquiry into the case and slapped a notice of violation of pollution norms to the management of the factory. “Earlier too,there were cases of violation of pollution norms by the factory. We have taken up the case and issued notices to them to conform to the norms. After today’s incident we will further scrutinise the case,” said Biswajit Mukherjee,chief law officer of state PCB.

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