Guj: Mob opposing zinc plant pelts stones, cops lob teargas shells

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Tapi (Guj), Jul 5 (PTI) A mob from at least two dozen tribal villages in Doswada in Gujarat's Tapi district opposing the setting up of a zinc smelter plant on Monday hurled stones at police personnel, who responded by lobbing teargas shells to bring the situation under control, officials said.

The protesters had gathered at the site of a public hearing arranged by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board for the plant that is being set up by Vedanta Group firm Hindustan Zinc in Doswada GIDC, an official said.

'People opposing the public hearing got agitated, after which we had to lob teargas shells. Two policemen sustained minor injuries and a police vehicle was damaged,' said Sub-Inspector Rajesh Vasava of Songadh police station.

'When the crowd was dispersing, somebody started throwing stones at police personnel, after which we fired teargas shells. The situation is now under control,' said Tapi Superintendent of Police Sujata Majmudar.

A tribal leader who attended the protest said people from at least two dozen villages had assembled to oppose the setting up of the plant over pollution fears, and they had demanded that the Gujarat Polluton Control Board defer the hearing for some time.

The state government had in October last year signed a pact with Vedanta Group's Hindustan Zinc to set up 'the world's largest zinc smelter complex' with a capacity of 300 kilo tonnes per annum, entailing an investment of Rs 10,000 crore, on a 415 acre area in Doswada. PTI COR KA PD BNM NSK NSK

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