Despite minor disruptions, the public hearing held by the Telangana Pollution Control Board (PCB) for setting up a Pharma City in Medipally concluded successfully, said Principal Secretary, Industries, Jayesh Ranjan.
Farmers and residents of 12 villages took part in the public hearing to express their anxieties and opinions, and to learn about the environmental impact of these pharma companies on their villages.
The entire meeting, along with the speeches, was recorded and videographed, PTI reported.
The public hearing was mandatory to obtain clearance for the project as per the rules laid down by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the meeting took place for nearly five hours.
The police had also detained a few protestors, who tried to disrupt the meeting, the PTI report added.
While officials maintained that the meeting was conducted in a free and fair manner, locals and environmentalists alleged that only the statements of 32 people from 12 villages were taken. Retired Scientist T Indrasena Reddy rubbished the claims of the government that there would be no liquid discharge from these pharma units and called it ‘impractical,’ Deccan Chronicle reported.
The DC report added that the elected TRS representatives who took part in the meeting had favoured the decision of the government, while the residents had opposed it outrightly. They alleged that these elected representatives took more time to speak, without giving time to the locals.
Former Vice-Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority M Sashidhar Reddy expressed shock on how the Environmental Protection Training and Research Institute could submit an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) without even knowing the number of companies to be set in the said location, reported The Times of India.
The opposition parties Congress, BJP and CPM also rejected the project and pointed out loopholes in it.
The Telangana government had decided to set up a ‘Hyderabad Pharma City’ spanning 19,500 acres on the city’d outskirts in Medipally, Ranga Reddy district. However, villagers and environmentalists have been protesting against the proposed project citing its harmful impact on the villages. The government claimed that the ‘environment-friendly project’ will generate an employment of 1.7 lakh.
Recently, Minister of Information and Technology KT Rama Rao said that the project will attract investments to the tune of Rs 64,000 crore and generate exports worth Rs 58,000 crore a year.