Residents in the vicinity of the upcoming plywood plant in Dolowal village, 10km from here, are up in arms against the formaldehyde and resin units that will be set up inside the plant premises.
On Monday, they held a protest on Dasuya Road near the factory site saying their lives could be endangered in the event of a chemical leak.
Villagers said they were not opposed to the plywood factory but a chemical unit could jeopardise their lives. They fear that emissions from the plant will pollute the air and water.
“We were kept in the dark about the chemical plant. We came to know of it after a public hearing was conducted before the administration,” they alleged.
Panchayats of Dolowal, Bassi Maruf, Baghpur, Sataur, Bassi Mudda, Ghasipur, Mehndipur, Bassi Kaso and other villages have resolved to put up a united fight.
Plant head Himanshu Shah said it was just like any other resin plant made with formaldehyde (methanol) as a base ingredient.
“Due to its intensive use in MDF, we are planning to manufacture the synthetic resin in our own premises to make it more cost effective. We have applied for the government’s sanction and will go ahead if we get the clearance,” he said.
Shah said the management could explain the actual picture if the protesters had approached them. “We are thorough with the rules and regulations. People are misinformed,” he added. He claimed that the upcoming unit will generate employment opportunities for locals besides promoting agro-forestry.
Deputy commissioner Anindita Mitra said the concerns of the villagers were noted and they will be forwarded to the ministry of environment and forests.
What is it all about?
The Rs 440-crore medium density fibreboard (MDF) manufacturing unit is being set up by Century Plyboards (India) Ltd on 32 acres of land and will be completed shortly. MDF is an alternative to plyboards in furniture making. The plant will have an annual capacity of 1.98 lakh cubic metres of MDF and 17,000 cubic metres of initial capacity to produce plywood and block board units.