Govt told not to issue permits

The Parliamentary Committee on Environment has directed the government not to issue licenses to industries that impact local environment.

A group of lawmakers on Monday raised concerns about “negative impacts” on environment caused by Arghakhanchi Cement Industry based in Mainahiya, Rupandehi, and a mining plant in Narapani.

The lawmakers claimed the industry acquired the license without following environmental standards and is causing negative impact on local communities. “The industry should either follow the environmental guidelines and standards for the operation or relocate,” said one of the lawmakers at Monday’s meeting.

The committee has directed the Ministry of Industry to stop the issuance of licenses to companies failing to comply with existing environment guidelines. The government in 2006 provided a 30-year permit to mine limestone at Narapani, Arghakhanchi. However, local residents have been protesting against the decision, claiming the quarry resulted in drying up of water resources. The government awarded the contract through a global bidding to Dynasty Industry promoted by Indian investors.

However, Pashupati Mura-rka, operator of Argakhanchi Cement Factory, says the company has followed the environment guidelines, including conducting Initial Environ-mental Examination (IEE) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to operate. He said the problem is not with the industry, but the locals are influenced by political parties. “Due to the lack of coordination among the ministries concerned, investment environment is being affected.”

The government has allowed the industry worth Rs 500 million to extract 1,000 tonnes of limestone from a 7.76sqkm area in Arghakhanchi.

Source: eKantipur