|Briefly explain:||Asbestos known to cause lung cancer and silicosis is banned in many developed and developing countries around the world. In India, though mining of asbestos is banned, companies are allowed to manufacture asbestos products. |
Local people particularly the school children are very much aware about the severe health impact of Asbestos. So, from July 2010 through January 2011 they protested heavily against coming up of the plant. With the substantial protest, district administration in Muzaffarpur imposed Section 144 (Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973, (unlawful assembly) according to sections 141-149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the maximum punishment for engaging in rioting is rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and/or fine) near the facility. Police also tried to suppress the movement by arresting the leaders .
According to the company the villagers’ should not be worried about the plant. The villagers are being misinformed because unlike blue asbestos, white asbestos is harmless. There are over 50 white asbestos factories throughout the country. Many of these factories are in densely-populated areas and there are no protests against the factories in these areas. However, villagers are informed that white asbestos, is widely used in the developing world, but is banned on health grounds in many industrialized countries. Even the World Health Organization says that it is also related to the diseases like mesothelioma, lung and other cancers. So, the villagers are not satisfied with explanations from the company officials. They say that school text books approved by the Bihar government shows that all forms of asbestos are not only harmful but also cause deadly diseases such as cancer. Hence, they will not allow any factory to come up in the village .
District Magistrate (DM), Muzaffarpur, stopped construction work and imposed prohibitory orders in the area around Plant in January 2011. However, villagers want to continue their protest till there is total ban on asbestos plants .
The movement is unique in the sense not only because of the vociferous nature of the protest but also many poor, and people from remote area with high levels of illiteracy were also involved. The movement has caught the attention of India's environmentalists and prominent social workers. Meanwhile, the schoolchildren of Muzaffarpur are demonstrating every day to make people aware of the hazardous effects of the "asbestos dust" .