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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 14, March 21, 2009

The New Pitfalls

Saturday 21 March 2009, by Subrata Sinha

Communication

It is indeed heartening that a geologist of Subrata Sinha’s experience and eminence has highlighted the pitfalls in establishing a chemical hub in Nayachar (Mainstream, February 14, 2009). He has very rightly pointed out the difference in geological setting of the off-shore islands of Singapur which are remnants of the Himalayan arc separated from the mainland by simple sea erosion. Very recent sediments of Nayachar are the end products of erosion of the Himalaya mountain which will perhaps be consolidated into hard rocks over geological eons.

The findings of recent geological explorations by drilling, as reported by Sinha, are extremely important. Many of the chemical industries are next only to the nuclear industry, insofar as creation of toxic wastes and effluents are concerned. Sinha is correct in asserting that the ill-effects of disposal of such waste in the sea will be felt upto the Sunderbans. Regular tides in the concerned rivers will also carry the ill-effects for miles inland. The effects of cyclones and Tsunamis on all constructions in this zone of instability will be devastating.

As Sinha has aptly underlined, the local people are using the new island in the way it should be. The State Government should help them to optimise the use by providing technical guidance and expertise. Misguided competition with other States in setting up special economic (read exploitation) zones and extraneous political considerations must be avoided.

Subrata Sen
- 13 Lendra Park
- Nagpur 440010

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