Residents divided over the future of industries in area
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.
NDRF carries out its rescue operation at Dombivli MIDC after the blast in Probace Enterprises, on Saturday