Centre’s no to allowing cement company use water from sanctuary



Shimla: In a major blow to the Himachal Pradesh government, the environment ministry has turned down its proposal to allow Ambuja Cement to withdraw water from Majthal wildlife sanctuary, which it had offered to use for supply to the public besides meeting its commercial requirement.

The matter was discussed at a meeting of the standing committee of National Board of Wildlife recently, which disapproved the proposal as members felt that providing drinking water was the responsibility of the state government and not private firms.

Ambuja Cement had offered to provide at least 75 per cent of total water withdrawn for public consumption and the remaining for its plant. Turning down the offer, a senior official of the environment ministry had stated, “It cannot be left to private/corporate agencies, who in the garb of achieving their interest may try to justify increased intake of water from the sanctuary in the name of local population.” The members had observed that extraction of water from the sanctuary for commercial purpose should not be permitted as envisaged in Section 29 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.

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  1. On the one hand the government pursues a policy for greening the hills so as to achieve carbon neutrality and at the same it permits diversion of land for cement mining and setting up more plants than the state needs.

    Proferssor Raghunath from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore at a lecture in the Himachal secretariat that was attended by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, some other cabinet colleagues and most senior oficials, in clear terms warned that of all the industrial units, cement was the one that left the largest carbon footprint on the environment.

    In a polite tone he termed cement units as very harmful for the Himalayan ecology.

    Yet the government in the name of development turns a blind eye and has issued yet another prospective license for a cement unit in Sunni area of Shimla district,

    Better sense prevailed upon the central governement wild life authorities, who saw through the gameplan of permitting diversion of forest streams by private entrepreneur which were cleverly disguised as philantrophy.

    Hope for good all such plans stand trashed.

    Now only hope that these people, who have shown their concern for wild life, maintain their stand

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