Plywood industry at loggerheads with environmentalists
By Express News Service | Published: 20th December 2012 09:21 AM |
The collectorate premises became a venue of battle between plywood manufacturers and environmentalists on Wednesday.
The Saw Mill Owners and Plywood Manufacturers Association held a massive rally of around 3,000 people against the alleged attempts of an environmental group, ‘Action Council for Environmental Protection’, to sabotage the plywood industry in Perumbavoor.
The rally was inaugurated by K P Ramachandran, state president, Kerala Small Scale Industrial Association.
The agitators declared that they would continue with the industrial bandh of the Perumbavoor timber industry, until authorities take adequate steps to stop the troublesome environmentalists.
“We are pained and shocked by the allegations made by the action council against the plywood industry”, said C K Abdul Majeed, treasurer of the association. He told that the environmental council was trying to blackmail them.
“We started industrial units in the land sold by some of the council activists. When the units started making profits, the old owners of the land became jealous. Some of them wanted us to buy their remaining land at exorbitant rates.”
The industrialists also alleged that the action council was working for the North Indian plywood lobby.
They also raised a serious allegation that the council was trying to give a communal angle to the issue as the majority of the industrialists belong to a particular community.
However, Varghese Pulluvazhy, chairman of the council termed the allegations as baseless. “If you visit Perumbavoor, you will be shocked at the environmental and noise pollution caused by plywood factories”, said Varghese.
However, according to council activists, the influential industrialists have forged many documents to obtain licences.
They also alleged that factories were violating many directives given by authorities, including those by the pollution control board. But the political and economic clout of the factory owners helps them evade law.