Villagers protest against industrial pollution

Excelsior Correspondent
UDHAMPUR, Feb 10: Students and locals of Rathian village today held a protest and blocked the road registering their anguish against increasing pollution level in the area by Red category industrial units.
The people assembled on the main road near Industrial complex and started protest demonstration against the District Administration and District Industries Department.  They alleged that several cement and pesticide units in this area were creating massive pollution.
The protesters said that their land was acquired by District Administration Udhampur in 1975 for the purpose of Railway Station site, which was later converted into Housing Colony project. However, in 2001, District Administration handed over this land to J&K SICOP for setting up Industrial units there. Government gave very little money to land owners and cheated the locals of Rathian, whose land was converted into Industrial area called Battal- Balian even as village Battal Balian is four kilometers away from the Rathian, they explained.
Before acquiring the land, District Administration had committed that the locals would be benefitted in big way but the fact is that people are badly suffering because of this industrial area,” they said adding that a population of about 15,000 souls was suffering because of 15 Red category units, which have been creating huge pollution.
The villagers alleged that there was no proper check by SPCB authorities. There are three schools near the area and the District Administration has not taken care of the health condition of children and other people here, they added.
Ex-Sarpanch Rathian, Puran Chand said that Government has permitted such harmful industries which are a great threat to the lives of people living there. He said about  forty percent population of the area was victims of various diseases like- asthma, skin diseases, eye diseases, indigestion problem while  the whole land has become barren.