| Protesters take out a rally near Kargil Chowk in Patna against the setting up of an asbestos factory in Muzaffarpur. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, Feb. 10: The Asbestos Virodhi Nagrik Manch took out a rally today in protest against the setting up of asbestos plant at Madvan in Muzaffarpur.
Owing to the protest, the police had to resort to lathicharge on the villagers. The protesters demanded release of Tarkeshwar Giri and Kumud Ram, the leaders of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangharsh Samiti, who were co-ordinating the protest against the construction of the asbestos plant in Muzaffarpur.
More than 5,000 activists of Asbestos Virodhi Nagrik Manch and SUCI protested against the asbestos factory under construction in Chainpur village in Muzaffarpur.
The activists took out the rally at Kargil Chowk and reached the Patna station roundabout where they shouted slogans against the construction of the factory. The protesters said the factory would pose a serious health problem for people of the area.
Satyajit Kumar Singh, the convener of Asbestos Virodhi Nagrik Manch, said: “The asbestos factory would not only damage the nearby soil but it would also make the atmosphere unhygienic. The raw material used in an asbestos factory is the killer dust and a silent time bomb. The government should not allow the setting up of this factory.”
He added: “We strongly condemn the police lathicharge against villagers who took out a peaceful march. The district administration is hand-in-glove with the asbestos company. It seems that Bihar, too, would witness a similar crisis like the one in Bengal’s Singur. We don’t want development at the cost of human lives or at the cost of environment.”
Another activist, Ramji Singh, said: “The proposed factory is set to be constructed in a densely populated area and it is sure to pose serious health implications on the people living in the adjacent areas. This will also have an adverse effect on the flora and fauna in the region.”
Advisor of the Asbestos Virodhi Nagrik Manch, Ishwari Prasad, said: “Asbestos is harmful for health. Even if a tiny particle of raw material used in asbestos making enters the body, it can lead to cancer. Asbestos is banned in 55 countries. Despite this, the health of the poor villagers is being overlooked. We are also demanding withdrawal of fake criminal cases against Giri and Ram who are languishing in jail.
The protest would continue until our demands are accepted by the Bihar government.”