Chavan writes to Antony, seeks his intervention
By Aakriti Vasudeva Posted: Sat Jan 07 2012, 01:33 hrs Mumbai: Indian Express
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has sought the intervention of Defence Minister A K Antony in the issue of disposing toxic waste from the erstwhile Union Carbide factory in Bhopal at the incinerator facility of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) in Nagpur. Nearly 346 tonnes of toxic waste has been lying at the plant since the 1984 gas tragedy.
Chavan said in his letter to Antony that the DRDO filed an affidavit in the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court that the toxic waste could be processed at its Nagpur facility “without addressing any of the environmental concerns or taking into account the technical capacity of the plant.” He said, “It is a matter of grave concern that neither the state government nor the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, both important stakeholders, had been consulted in this matter.”
The state government has also represented against the DRDO’s submission. The court had, on December 21, taken cognisance of the pollution control board’s objections of a non-functional incinerator and non-compliance of inter-state hazardous waste transport rules and turned down the Centre’s plea to conduct a trial run of burning waste at the DRDO facility. However, it is only a temporary relief as the Centre can file pleas on behalf of the DRDO against the board’s objections. The next court hearing is on January 17.
“I seek your personal intervention in the matter to ensure that the DRDO does not take any steps in contravention of the existing laws and regulations. I also seek your assistance to review this decision as it was taken without following the process of consultation with important stakeholders in the state and is in violation of the existing environmental laws and regulations,” Chavan wrote to Antony.
The Chief Minister took up the issue following a request from Vilas Muttemwar, the Congress MP from Nagpur.
It was on July 12, 2011, that the Madhya Pradesh High Court directed disposal of the toxic waste from the Union Carbide factory at the Nagpur facility on a 2004 public interest litigation seeking a directive to make Dow Chemicals clean up the toxic waste.