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MVA, govt in blame game over chemical units’ relocation

May 25, 2024
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Min Says Delay In Finding Land; Allocation After June 4

Mumbai: Though 156 chemical industrial units from Dombivli MIDC were identified to be relocated to Patalganga in Raigad district two years ago, neither land was allotted nor infrastructure set up, said industry sources.

Industries minister Uday Samant admitted that there were “some delays in finding land to shift these hazardous companies”, but now land has been identified. “Due to poll code of conduct, the land will be allotted after June 4 and the companies will be shifted. Now, we have to convince the industrialists to shut and we will implement this in-principle decision soon,” he added.

Addressing the aftermath of the Amudan Chemicals explosion in Dombivli MIDC, deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis emphasised the necessity of relocating industries away from residential zones and criticised the erstwhile MVA govt for inaction. Responding to leader of opposition Ambadas Danve’s relocation demand, Fadnavis said, “The discussions for relocating those are underway for years. The previous govt under Uddhav Thackeray did nothing during its entire tenure…But I think this is a serious issue and the industries must be provided land for shifting.” Contradicting Fadnavis, state Congress chief Nana Patole asserted that MVA govt had ordered the closure of these factories, but alleged corruption allowed them to continue operating.

Amid the political blame game over relocation of chemical industrial units, deadlock persists over demands for free land and tax rebates.

Aprup Adawadkar, a chemical engineer and risk reduction consultant and trainer, said prima facie, the reason behind Amudan Chemicals explosion has been made clear with the industries department pointing out that its reactor was not registered under the India Boiler Regulations. “Unsafe and uncontrolled storage of chemical inventory, peroxides and chemical dru-ms without maintaining required temperature are said to be …behind the spread of the fire. There was no safe distance or isolation as several drums filled with chemicals exploded one after another, triggering a massive fire,” he said. “Lack of safety gadgets, PPEs, and fire retardants and untrained sta-ff made the situation worse.

Chandrakant Salunkhe, president of Maharashtra Industry Development Association, while admitting negligence on part of the factory, pointed out that safety inspection and certification, in many cases, were done on an “understanding” between the auditors and factory owners or managers. “This safety certification should be made more frequent and stringent… But if govt plans to shift chemical and other hazardous industries outside Dombivli MIDC, they should be given free land besides certain compensation and tax rebates so that their businesses do not become unfeasible causing unemployment and bankruptcy,” he said. DISH director Devidas Gore did not respond to TOI calls and messages on the incident.

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