Gujarat: Protests Escalate As Locals Detained At Public Hearing For Proposed Copper Smelter Plant In Ahmedabad

Gujarat: Protests Escalate As Locals Detained At Public Hearing For Proposed Copper Smelter Plant In Ahmedabad

The incident unfolded as Mudita and the villagers voiced their opposition to the environmental implications of the proposed project.

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 05:46 PM IST
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Protests Escalate As Locals Detained At Public Hearing For Proposed Copper Smelter Plant |

Ahmedabad: Amidst escalating tensions, about a dozen locals from Lothpur village, including social innovator Mudita Vidrohi from Ahmedabad, were detained by Jafrabad police during a public hearing regarding the proposed copper smelter plant of Indo Asia Copper on Tuesday.

The incident unfolded as Mudita and the villagers voiced their opposition to the environmental implications of the proposed project. Their voices were swiftly silenced, with Mudita's microphone switched off and her being forcibly removed from the venue, along with other dissenting locals.

The proposed copper smelter plant, which resurfaced after two decades, has reignited concerns among residents of Lothpur and neighboring villages in Jafrabad taluka, Amreli district.

The land, earmarked for the plant on the Hindorna-Barpatoli stretch, witnessed a similar public hearing years ago, leading to the shelving of the project following widespread agitation. However, with fresh plans on the horizon, the company aims to revisit its proposal, despite vehement opposition from the local community.

Residents fear the adverse environmental impact and rampant pollution that would accompany the establishment of the smelter plant in their vicinity.

Their apprehensions stem from past experiences and the potential health risks posed to hundreds of villagers. The company's representatives had previously abandoned their visit to Nigala last year in the face of vehement protests, only to return with renewed intentions this time around.

Indo Asia Copper's memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government in 2021 signaled the commencement of plans for a copper smelter and fertilizer complex in Rajula, Amreli district, with operations slated to begin in 2025.

The mammoth project entails a staggering investment of Rs. 17,000 crore. The proposed plant is set to affect eight villages within a five-kilometer radius, namely Vandh Nageshri, Kagvadar, Mithapar, Sarovarda, Koli Kanthariya, Balani Vav, Vandh Lunsapur, and Kovaya.

The clash at the public hearing highlights the deep-seated apprehensions and opposition among local communities regarding the establishment of the copper smelter plant.

Despite assurances of environmental safeguards and economic benefits, residents remain steadfast in their resistance, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing public health and ecological preservation over industrial expansion.

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