Panel to study sponge iron blight

KOLKATA, 3 AUG.: A 13-member committee to study environmental pollution due to sponge iron unit and make recommendation to curb the menace would be formed by the state environment minister, Mr Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar.
The decision was taken after the minister along with the chairman of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), Mr Binoy Kumar Dutta, principal secretary of the environment department, Mr RPS Kahlon, the joint secretary of the commerce and industries department met 60 representatives from various sponge iron units across Asansol, Durgapur and Bankura at the Paribesh Bhavan in Salt Lake today.
The minister who had visited the sponge iron units in these regions on 18 July said that the units seldom comply with the environmental norms. Mr Dutta showed a presentation on the current situation and the finding by various inspection teams to the areas to access the damage caused by such highly polluting units.
The minister instructed the representatives from the units to abide by the rules and install effluent treatment devices.
The committee to be formed by the minister would have a local resident of the area where sponge iron units exist, an environment activist, officials of the WBPCB, representatives from sponge iron units and external experts. The panel would study the effects, extent of environmental degradation due to the units and give recommendations. The detailed report would be submitted by 30 September, said Mr Dutta.
Since coal-bed methane is found in Durgapur Asansol belt and is less polluting than coal, the minister advised the units to switch from coal based fuel to methane. He observed that coal-bed methane is used even by some auto drivers to run their vehicle in the region and could be a greener alternative to coal.

Soma Basu

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