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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Natural gas should be supplied as part of pollution measures

Supply natural gas to all tea factories in 'No Development Zone': APCB to Assam Gas
Bikash Singh, ET Bureau Oct 6, 2012, 06.57PM IST

The Economic Times

Guwahati: Assam Pollution Control Board (APCB), has directed the Assam Gas Company Limited (AGCL) to arrange for supply of natural gas to all tea factories located within 'No Development Zone (NDZ)' as well as in the range of 500 meters from the co-ordinates of NDZ in the vicinity of Kaziranga National Park, a world heritage site on top priority basis within next month.

This directive has been issued for compliance with the judgment of National Green Tribunal.
In the judgment it was stated that all the twenty two tea processing units located within NDZ have installed boilers for which, coal, oil, wood is the main feed stock and they have not installed any pollution control devices.

 The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and other authorities are directed to ensure that no tea processing units having boiler using fossil fuel operates within the NDZ and take immediate steps to stop their operation within November 6 2012. The three tea leaf processing units located within 500m of the outer periphery of NDZ should be allowed to operate only if necessary pollution control measures as may be stipulated by the SPCB are adhered to by those units. Further, all the tea processing units must provide acoustical enclosures in their electrical generators for providing alternative electricity.

In compliance with the directive of the National Green Tribunal, the Pollution Control Board, Assam, published a notification dated 27/09/2012 directing all tea factories covered by the Judgment to switchover to alternative source of energy within the stipulated time or else stop their operation.

"Natural gas is considered as an eco-friendly fuel. We earnestly request the AGCL and the State Government to take immediate steps so that the concerned tea factories are supplied with natural gas within the stipulated time", said Rajib Barooah, Chairman, Assam Tea Planters' Association (ATPA).

"We are very much worried because it encompasses 22 tea factories manufacturing 22 million kgs of tea annually involving the fate of more than 40,000 workers and more than 3,000 small tea growers are dependent on these tea factories by way of supplying green leaf", said Bidyananda Barkakoty, Chairman, North Eastern Tea Association (NETA).

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