Khoirom MIE Row: Air Quality and Noise Pollution Test Conducted Under Tight Security; Locals Demand Permanent Shift-away of the Factory against the Owner’s Seeking for Co-operation
Thoubal, 20th September 2022: Officials of Manipur Pollution Control Board and Thoubal Forest Division on Monday, conducted "Ambient Air Quality Monitoring" and "Ambient Noise Monitoring" tests at Yairipok Khoirom Leikai, where the contentious MIE stands.
Earlier on 15th September, the locals got tensed over with the teams of Manipur Pollution Control Board and Thoubal Forest Division and stopped them from undergoing pollution tests of the industry on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the owners of Minor Industrial Estate at Khoirom have appealed to the locals for their support and co-operation for the establishment of the factory. However, the locals demand the permanent shift away from the factory to some other place against the owners’ appeal. They never want it to stand there.
At around 10 am yesterday, the locals blocked the road to the industrial estate and shouted that they never wanted "Ambient Air Quality Monitoring" and "Ambient Noise Monitoring" tests to undergo. They also shouted various slogans against the establishment and demanded a permanent shift away of the factory from their village.
However, under the protection of heavy police forces including the Thoubal District Police, CDO Thoubal Unit, Woma, Additional SPs, SDPOs, and OCs, the officials of Manipur Pollution Control Board underwent air quality test of the industrial Estate and measured the noise pollution level of the nearby houses.
In the meantime, the locals used big beams and lit tyres on the road to stop the officials of the Pollution Control Board, Forest department, and security personnel from returning. Later, when the representatives of the locals and the officials of the Pollution Control Board held a talk, the locals cleared the roads.
In interaction with the media, DFO Th. Lokendro of Thoubal Forest Division said that as per instruction from the government, the officials of the Pollution Control Board came to test the air quality and noise pollution level of the mills and the adjoining areas, but they couldn’t as locals staged a protest and stopped them from undergoing any test. However, under tight security, they conducted the required tests. Further actions and plans will be taken up by a State Level Committee after the test reports come, said the officer.
However, the owners of the Sawmill and plywood factory at the Khoirom MIE said that five of them began the industry as a joint venture in 2014-15. And they established the industrial state in 2018 when they received the approval of the government for the establishment. They were really upset at the way the locals stopped the officials of the Pollution Control Board from undergoing "Ambient Air Quality Monitoring" and "Ambient Noise Monitoring" tests, the owners said. They also asked the locals to come out and work with them and help the state to become a self-independent state. They also appealed to the locals to support them in running the industry successfully.
While on the other side, a woman member of the JAC against the Establishment of the Khoirom MIE in the Residential Area said on behalf of the general public during the protest that they wanted nothing but the permanent shift away of the industrial estate to some other place whether the air or noise pollution tests are done or not. Some locals are suffering from pollution-related diseases from the ill effects of the industry, and our children can’t study because of the hard sounds of the big engines in the mills. Neither the sound of dropping and packing woods and beams is an exception. Not just these, she also said that the locals couldn’t rest well after long hours of work due to the noise coming out of the factory. She then asked for the state’s intervention to shift the industry somewhere else.