"I appreciate the public action that happens around the non complying factories" -- Mr. Pandey, Member Secretary, Rajasthan State Pollution Board
Three months ago, through Video Volunteers Sunita started a petition on Change.org telling the Member Secretary of Rajasthan State Pollution Board to shut down asphalt factories that were polluting the air with cancerous dust in Karauli.
Sunita mobilised 3616 people through the petition and many of them also followed up through constant phone calls. After which, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board found that most of these factories were illegal and were crossing their pollution limit. A month later the first factory was shut down in village Asthal (Karauli).
On 27th November ' 2012 a Senior Environment engineer informed her that all the 5 factories were sealed. He also mentioned that they will remain sealed unless they get valid licences and comply with the norms.
The Rajasthan Control Board told Sunita that it was due to the constant public pressure that they were able to do this.
After issuing the notice to seal these factories, this is what Mr. Pandey, Member Secretary, Rajasthan State Pollution Board said "I appreciate the public action that happens around the non complying factories"
Asphalt factories poison the air in Asthal village -- District Karauli (Rajasthan). Crops wither before harvest and the trees have stopped to bear fruits. One in ten villagers suffers from cancer or falls victim to a serious strain of tuberculosis. All fingers are pointing at the 5 asphalt factories that have been churning out toxic fumes and black dust almost every single day for the last ten years.
The Bharathpur Pollution Board, says that no permit has been issued for the setting up of these factory units.
The legality of the factories is further challenged by a neighbouring temple which accuses the factory of forcefully occupying temple land.
The factory owners claim that their factories "provide much needed employment to the locals but the fact remains that the factories workforce of around 50 workers are all migrant labourers from other parts of the country".
The people of the village are tired of breathing the poisoned air and are calling for all units to be shut down permanently
I am a resident of Karauli and I found out that many people in the village that I met during my visit were suffering from some form of cancer or a respiratory disorder.
They are spending all their earnings on medicine and at the same time, their farms continue to yield lesser and lesser produce. It’s time we put an end to this.
The factory has already caused enough suffering and if nothing is done about it soon an entire generation will suffer from the after effects. The people are on our side and so is the law. The balance has tipped in our favour and now we are calling on the authorities to affirm it. Public pressure is essential here and we need as many signatures on this petition as we can.
Save village Asthal in Rajasthan and tell the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board to investigate the matter and shut down the factories as soon as possible.