Res­i­dents di­vided over the fu­ture of in­dus­tries in area

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Naveeta Singh cor­re­spon­dent@ dnain­dia. net

The boiler blast in a chem­i­cal fac­tory in Dom­bivli, which killed 12 peo­ple and in­jured 158, has opened up a Pan­dora’s box on in­dus­trial and res­i­dents’ safety. And some politi­cians, promis­ing to shift the in­dus­tries out­side Dom­bivli, has fur­ther fu­elled the de­bate about who should stay and who should leave.

A sec­tion of res­i­dents is of the opin­ion that in­dus­tries, a ma­jor source of pol­lu­tion, and are dan­ger­ous as well, should be ban­ished from the vicin­ity. Oth­ers say the in­ci­dent should not be used as an ex­cuse to sell off the land to builders.

In 1964, the Ma­ha­rash­tra In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion ( MIDC) was es­tab­lished in Dom­bivli on a plot of 347 acres. “Of that, 250 acres were given to in­dus­tries while the rest was en­croached upon,” said ac­tivist Shailen­dra Bha­gat from Dom­bivli. “Now, politi­cians want to shift the in­dus­tries to Am­ber­nath. Hope it is not used as an ex­cuse to give the land away to the mafia, as has hap­pened sev­eral times in the past,” he said.

Prashant Redij, an­other ac­tivist from Dom­bivli ( W), said the MIDC should not be re­moved from the area. “The area is meant for in­dus­tries. It is the res­i­dents who have en­croached upon the land and con­structed il­le­gal build­ings in the in­dus­trial zone,” he said.

“Dom­bivli MIDC pro­vides em­ploy­ment to many work­ers in and around the area who are not skilled or pro­fes­sion­ally qual­i­fied for other jobs. The gov­ern­ment can shift haz­ardous chem­i­cal com­pa­nies and bring in en­gi­neer­ing, cot­tage and food pro­cess­ing in­dus­tries, which will ben­e­fit these work­ers. Oth­er­wise, they will have to travel for two hours to Am­ber­nath,” he added.

Some politi­cians have also talked about bring­ing in IT com­pa­nies. “Ev­ery­body can’t be­come a com­puter en­gi­neer. MIDC is a source of em­ploy­ment for many un­skilled work­ers,” said Redij.

A res­i­dent Sushil Thom­bre, how­ever, said if the build­ings were il­le­gal, how were they were al­lowed to flour­ish? “Why did the MIDC wait to let this en­croach­ment take place? Who cleared the build­ing plans?” he asked.

— Vib­hav Bir­watkar/ dna

NDRF car­ries out its res­cue op­er­a­tion at Dom­bivli MIDC af­ter the blast in Probace En­ter­prises, on Satur­day

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