Almost all those who attended the environmental public consultation on the Continental Carbon India Limited's 4.2 lakh-tonne carbon black manufacturing industry and a 150 MW captive power plant at Pudi village in Rambilli mandal held at the village on Thursday, opposed setting up the industry as it would damage the environment and deny them livelihood.

Joint Collector Pola Bhaskar presided and the Ghaziabad-based company's representatives explained about the plant. The industry is being set up with technical support from the Continental Carbon Limited of the US. Carbon black is used to reinforce the rubber.

The first objection was about the brief Telugu version of the environment impact assessment report instead of a detailed report.

Representatives of environmental groups, fishermen associations, Dalit organisations and NGOs explained about the damage the industry would cause. A similar industry in the US was closed in the face of opposition from the people after it caused lung cancer, skin diseases, etc.

CPI (M) district secretary Ch. Narasinga Rao said no more pollution-causing industries would be allowed in the district. A carbon black making unit of 10,000 tonnes was set up in the district in 1985 but it was closed a year later when people protested. Damage caused by the Pudi unit would be more, he said. The number of jobs would be around 400 and not in thousands as the management claimed, Mr. Narasinga Rao said. Dalitula Bhoomula Hakkula Parirakshana Samiti K. Venkata Ramana dismissed the claim of factory management that the industry would not cause pollution. There was no industry without pollution, he said. Boosi Raju of Maala Mahanadu said the industry would only harm the people.

T. Shankar of Traditional Fishermen Forum and another fisherman Bosanna said the industry would pollute the sea more and destroy marine life. Even the salt would get polluted, said Mr. Bosanna. Bhujanga Rao of Forum for Better Visakha strongly opposed setting up the industry as it would cause a lot of pollution.

‘Pollutant'

J.V. Ratnam of 100 Months Climate Protection Committee pointed out that one of the raw materials of carbon black was sludge from crude oil refinery units which would cause more pollution.

It was banned even in the developing countries.

Representatives of Save Nature and Paryavarana Praja Parirakshana Samiti of Hyderabad also opposed.

There was some tension during the proceedings when Elamanchili MLA U.V. Ramana Murthy Raju (Kannababu) shouted at those opposing the industry and said they better bother about pollution in Visakhapatnam before trying to block an industry in this area. He stopped his criticism when people strongly protested.

Out of the 27 speakers, 20 opposed. The MLA, local Sarpanch and another Congress leader supported and four consultants spoke in favour of the industry.

Mr. Bhaskar said that the Government would go by people's opinion and added that if we needed one benefit, we have to lose another advantage.

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