GUWAHATI, Feb 21 - The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Kolkata Bench, on Monday directed Alstom Industries and the State Government to maintain status quo in regard to operation of the cement factory that was established at the historic site of Junbeel Mela at Baghjap village near Jagiroad in Morigaon district.
The NGT has also asked the State Government, including the departments concerned, to show cause as to why the interim order shall not be made absolute.
Representing the applicants, senior advocate Bhaskar Dev Konwar appearing before the NGT contended that the factory site is nearer to the site of Junbeel water body where the historic mela (fair) is held and there are temples, schools and the Kopili river as well.
He submitted that although the local villagers protested against the establishment of the cement factory, no action was taken by the departments concerned.
The Baghjap Tribenee Sangha and Library, who is the applicant before the NGT, had also urged in their application that the migratory birds coming to the area would be disturbed and the mela would lose its identity as a whole due to the establishment of the cement factory in the area.
It is still not known as to how the authorities could have allowed establishment of such a polluting industry that falls in the ‘Red Category Club’ (i.e. most polluting industry according to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Central Pollution Control Board) in an ecologically sensitive area.
It was also submitted that due to the adverse effects of the cement factory the local farmers and fishermen will face a lot of hardship and difficulties in earning their livelihood.
Already this year, the number of migratory birds has decreased substantially due to the construction activities of the cement industry.
The Principal Secretary, Department of Environment and Forests, Assam, along with the Pollution Control Board, Assam and the Deputy Commissioner, Morigaon has also been made party respondents in the case.
The next hearing of the case is on March 23.