Graphite India shuts unit, citizens cheer

Graphite India shuts unit, citizens cheer

Graphite India Whitefield plant

In a major boost to citizen activism in Bengaluru, the polluting Graphite India Ltd unit on Wednesday announced the closure of its operations in Bengaluru. This brings the long-drawn battle between residents of Whitefield and the company to its logical end.

The Kolkata-headquartered Graphite India’s decision to shut operations was communicated to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange in a letter on April 3 as per Section 30 of SEBI Regulations 2015. Attributing its decision to various factors, the company cited orders of the National Green Tribunal and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s decision to withdraw the consent for operations.

“Following KSPCB’s closure order, the plant suspended all its activities by February 21 and was awaiting further communication from KSPCB as regards monitoring as directed by NGT. In the aforesaid circumstances, the company does not see any purpose in operating the Bengaluru plant. The Board of Directors have vide a circular resolution passed on Tuesday evening, approved a proposal to permanently close operations in the Bengaluru plant,” the letter on the BSE website stated.

According to the company, the Bengaluru unit contributed 17% (Rs 508.64 crore) of the total turnover of the company. The company also said, “Barring unforeseen circumstances, the company does not expect any material impact on its production capacity.”

Elated over the company’s decision, Whitefield Rising — a residents’ collective in a statement said, “For four decades, this factory was spewing black dust across a large perimeter from its Whitefield operations. Today, Graphite India has announced that it will shut down its Bengaluru operations permanently. If there is one lesson to be learnt from this immense victory, it is that the common man is very powerful, every effort counts, and those efforts when united, count most.”

The association further stated, “People around Graphite India have suffered for several decades. Those with the ability raised their voice. And those without the ability simply suffered. There were numerous defeats but when the truth is in one’s favour, a defeat is merely a victory yet to come.

“Whitefield Rising, a firmly non-partisan platform for residents, aims to improve our neighbourhood by both increasing accountability of government and businesses while at the same time seeking to change our own behaviours that are contributing to the problems around us. This win against Graphite India is a stellar example of demanding accountability,” the association said.