Dow Chemical takes police help to end 40-day blockade

Express news service, February 27, 2008
Pune, February 26 After facing road blockade for 40 days, the Dow Chemical Research and Development (R&D) centre took the help of State Reserve Police (SRP) to ferry three trucks to the construction site at Shinde village in Chakan on Tuesday. The villagers of Shinde and Vasuli had dug up the road to protest the setting up of the R& D centre and were preventing vehicles from plying to the construction site.

The trucks and a special SRP force van crossed the dug up road at around 4 pm, said Sunil Deukar, one of the villagers. “With only a few villagers at the entry point today, we were outnumbered. Besides with their use of the SRP force we could do little to stop them. But we will not allow the trucks to leave the village,” he said.
The members of Lokshashan Andolan, B G Kolse Patil and Vilas Sonawane, who are backing the villagers, said this was the first time that the company had used police support. “Our agitation began with the support of villagers on January 17 and since then construction work has been stalled with no vehicle allowed to pass through the village,’’ said Kolse Patil.
A State-level committee was appointed to look into the Dow imbroglio under the chairmanship of the environment secretary S K Goel. It met for the second time on Monday and is expected to release its report soon. Meanwhile, agitators from Lokayat submitted a memorandum to the committee expressing their firm protest against the company. Dow Chemical officers were unavailable for comment when contacted.

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