January 4: Jitpur-Simara Sub Metropolitan City has launched a campaign to remove the production unit of Jagdamba Steels in the Birgunj-Pathlaiya Industrial Corridor.
Mayor of the sub-metropolis Krishna Poudel has taken such initiative stating that Jagdamba Steels has spread pollution and created risk of accidents among the locals. The locals have protested time and again against the careless attitude of Jagdamba Steels regarding pollution control.
They claim that due to the industry becoming irresponsible in occupational safety, accidents occur time and again and the locals are at the frontline of risk. Conflicts between the industry and locals in the corridor have escalated greatly.
An all-party meeting chaired by Mayor Poudel a few days ago after repeated incidents of conflict between the industry and the locals concluded that the kiln to melt scrap iron would not be allowed to operate there.
The industry has been producing billets by melting scrap iron collected from the local market. Initiatives will be taken through the local administration to relocate the kiln’s smelting furnace within a year. The locals have complained that the industry has not complied with its pollution control commitments.
The locals have repeatedly locked the gates of the industry in protest. In the past, the industry had agreed to operate under the control of the local administration. The locals have been saying that the industry has not complied with the agreement as well.
Mayor Poudel stated that the risk of accidents has increased as the industry's gas plants are connected to the settlement. An ultimatum has been given to move the gas plant within the main premises of the industry within three months.
A few days ago, a group of locals had entered the industry and vandalized the property saying that the gas plant was leaking. The industry said that it incurred damages worth millions of rupees due to the vandalism.
The locals have complained that the industry has given priority to Indian citizens in employment while putting the locals at risk of pollution and industrial accidents. The all-party meeting has also decided to give priority to locals for employment.
The meeting demanded that the industry should immediately provide regular employment to at least 60 people. According to the industry management, about 1000 workers are directly and indirectly working in various production units of the industrial complex. It has also been demanded to maintain adequate greenery inside and outside the factory for the management of noise and vibration generated during the operation of the industry and for the control of pollution.
The industry has also been accused of encroaching on public land. The meeting has decided to take initiative to conserve such land. The meeting has also asked the company to make parking arrangements in the industrial premises saying that the risk of road accidents has increased while parking the vehicles on the main highway.