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March 14, 2018

Proposed cement factory in Malakand village opposed

National

March 14, 2018

PESHAWAR: The civil society organisations have expressed concern over the proposed cement factory in Palai village in Malakand district. Renowned for its fruit orchards specially, citrus fruit, the Palai oranges fetch the highest price in world markets.

To favour the factory owners to get relief in tax-free Pata, the district coordination officer Malakand has issued Section 4 for procurement of 3200 kanal of land in violation of the ban on industrial activities in agricultural and forest land in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Palai village (10,000 pop) is 500 metres away from the proposed factory site.

Other villages, namely, Zoormandi, Sher Khana, Jalalpur, Bazdara and Moura Banda (pop 24,000) are in a radius of about 1- 5 kilometres. Other villages of Mardan, namely Kohi Barmawal, Ghazi Baba, Qasamay, Sarobay, Tazagram and Kharki have roughly population of 30,000 are in a radius of 3-4 kms. Around 24,000 kanals of agricultural Palai village is irrigated by Baizai irrigation scheme and tube-wells. Climate change has already degraded the ground aquifers. A water intensive industry will totally deplete the existing underground water reserves, rendering impossible future agriculture activities.

Setting up of a cement plant, gaseous emissions carbon dioxide and monoxide shall endanger both human and animal life. Besides, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide shall also destroy crops and fruit growing orchards. The industrial pollution of quarrying activity involving limestone is the source of TB, cough and skin and eye diseases. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a common lung disease of industries. Causing breathing problems, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and bronchiectasis it leads to lung cancer. The local illiterate population of the village is being lured with jobs in cement factory. The civil society organisations have asked Peshawar High Court to take suo motu notice of the issue.

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