Umang Choudhary is an RTI Activist and strong believer in his most recent cause. This 22 year old from Jharkhand, has much to say on this ‘Greenpeace’ movement. Opinion expressed here are strong and are quoted as is from our conversation with Umang. If anything this is an indicator, that no matter where you are or how old, you can stand up and have a voice against something you don’t like.
During the month of August 2010, Adhunik Group of Industries and a local transporter dumped 1500 trucks of black coloured toxic waste which is supposed to be Dolo Char in a Residential Area Village Kadamdih which according to the Environment clearance Certificate should have been used in power generation by the company (Adhunik Alloys and Power Ltd.) and Village Kadamdih being the part of Dalma Ecosensitive Zone where such activities are expressly Prohibited.
According to lab report by CSE, New Delhi It contains harmful heavy materials and other toxic substances which are scientifically proven to be harmful to humans and other living beings. The same has also been confirmed by Central Pollution Control Board in its report on 10th September 2012.
We the People at Village Kadamdih decided to take immediate action and took up this issue with the said company and also filed a complaint at Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board. The JSPCB conducted a site inspection on Nov 10 and found the facts correct and forwarded the matter to their headquarters at Ranchi. The Directors of this Kolkata based group contacted me and visited my Residence many times and offered me a sum of Rupees 30 Lakhs as bribe which was rejected immediately.
In the meanwhile JSPCB Headquarters issued them show cause notice regarding the issue. This started the beginning of foul play by the Company. I started getting threats on my phone by some renowned politicians and the company. This forced us to file a informatory petition in the lower court, Ranchi.
A little after this we came to know that the Company escaped by Presenting Wrong facts at the Show Cause Proceedings. We brought the wrong disclosure made by the company to the Member Secretary, JSPCB but no action was taken and even RTI query regarding this was not answered. So we went to the State Information Commision regarding no response to our RTI query, The Commision took the notice of this and will be conducting a proceeding on 4-12-12.
When we had no hopes in the Govt. Machinery We approached the High Court Of Jharkhand through a PIL but the court directed us to go to a civil court for relief since private parties are involved which made us to approach the Supreme court, the apex court directed us to take up the issue to National Green Tribunal.
The Present Situation:
1. National Green Tribunal has ordered the CPCB to visit the site and the was done on 10th September 2012 and found allegations correct and submitted a report by 9-10-12
2. The President of India has Mr. BMS Rathore, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India to look into the matter personally.
3.We are also carrying on a online campaign with GreenPeace India to gain support for our cause at http://www.greenpeacex.in/p/chandil
4.We are also carrying out awareness programmes at nearby villages and hope to create environment awareness among them which is a difficult task considering the education level of the people.
On behalf of The Chief Secretary, State of Jharkhand a misleading and false affidavit was filed in the National Green Tribunal stating that No waste is currently lying on the disputed site . The tribunal finding it inconsistent with earlier claims ordered CPCB to inspect the site. (The CPCB has in its report mentioned that the affidavit filed by the State of Jharkhand misleading and false.)
Damage due to delay in this issue:
Since, there has been a delay of 2 years and counting in bringing environmental justice; Environmental norms are taken for granted in this ecosensitive zone. Solid Toxic Industrial waste are being used as land filing material, Steel units not following Pollution Control Measures and using the entire ecosensitive zone as dumping yards for their waste and have even not spared river Subanrekha considered to be lifeline of the state. And Adhunik Group being the flag bearer because of its strong political lobby. Each and every condition stated in the Environment clearance has been violated.
What I feel?
People often question my intentions. They feel that I am against industrialization or I am doing this for money; this hurts a lot. I being from a business family, managing a 100 year old enterprises will always like business environment to flourish in the state, as that would be in the interest of both the state and my family business. But business has other responsibilities too. It has too positively contribute to the society. No one should be allowed to flourish at the cost of others.
As in this particular issue, the Unit under default was dumping toxic industrial waste in close proximity to residential areas, and the said toxic waste are scientifically proven to be the cause of several types of cancer. This was not acceptable. Also, majority of the population over there are poor people; and shall be not able to afford medical help. These was a serious situation. Both the defaulting unit and the Government authorities were to be made accountable for these menace; this made me take this up.