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Green issues unite red enemies in WB

Posted by Admin on December 26, 2009

Maoists may be killing ruling CPI-M cadres, burning public property and blocking traffic in West Bengal regularly but that doesn’t stop a top leader of the banned outfit from discussing environmental issues with a top bureaucrat.

Koteshwar Rao, politburo member of Communist Party of India (Maoist) spoke about pollution-related issues with Bengal environment secretary M.L. Meena for half-an-hour on Wednesday. The focus of the conversation was pollution in sponge iron units in the state.

The Maoists have been agitating against pollution caused by sponge iron plants over the past year. Last week, they had set fire to Reshmi Sponge Iron company’s sponge iron plant near Lalgarh in West Midnapore. Meena admitted having spoken to Rao alias Kishenji but refused to divulge details.

Kishenji however was happy to give some details to HT on Thursday. “The environment secretary listened to my views and could not discard them. But he thinks pollution in these units can be controlled,” he said.

The Maoist leader also said his organisation would no longer confine itself to political and guerilla issues and has threatened to destroy the other polluting units in the region.

There are more than 100 sponge iron units in five districts of West Bengal — Bardhaman, Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore.

The state pollution control board has issued closure orders against two.

“Even if control equipment is installed, it would be impossible to control the pollution effectively. So we are demanding that all sponge iron units be shut down,” Kishenji told HT. HT


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