Economic Times, September 27, 2008
MUMBAI: State chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday has issued orders to stop work on the controversial Dow Chemical plant, near Pune, for a month. The project will be reviewed and a decision will be taken after a month, Mr Deshmukh, who is in London on an investment mission for the state, said.
As part of the anti-Dow protest, warkaris members of the local religious-cultural sect organised ‘rasta roko’ at the Mumbai-Bangalore highway on Friday. On Thursday, protestors had gheraoed food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on his way to Indapur.
As reported earlier, there have been at least three major incidents of attack and arson at Dow’s site in the past two months. The US chemical giant’s Rs 400-crore plan to develop the unit into a global research and development centre has been facing stiff opposition.
Its relationship with Union Carbide — responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 that took over 8,000 lives — was the main ground for the opposition. Local environmentalists were joined by the warkaris who feared that the company may pollute the river Bheema. Saints like Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar had lived hundreds of years ago along the banks of this river.
Last month, a large group of protesters ransacked the company site near Pune. According to police, over a 100 miscreants came in jeeps with hammers, spanners, kerosene etc. They destroyed company property and set some machinery on fire. In the latest incident, a company vehicle was set on fire last week.