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Tuesday, 21 November, 2000, 10:46 GMT
Delhi pollution protest spreads
Burning postal van in Delhi street
Workers are angry over plans to close down factories
Thousands of angry workers have protested for a second day running in the Indian capital, Delhi, against plans to close industrial units that cause pollution.

The protests have caused widespread disruption in parts of the city.

On Monday, one person was reported killed and dozens wounded in clashes between demonstrators and police.

Delhi's polluted Yamuna river
Delhi is one of the world's most polluted cities
City officials said schools had been closed in the city as a precaution.

Traffic ground to a halt in many areas as the strikers blocked roads.

The workers are protesting against a government move to shift polluting industrial units out of the city.

It follows a Supreme Court order that such factories or workshops should either be relocated or shut down.

Court crackdown

On Monday, police used tear gas and batons to break up the protests and beat back the workers.

The workers accuse the government of targeting all the industrial units in the city, including those which are non-polluting.

They say the shutdown was imposed without any prior notice and will lead to job losses.

"This is unjust. Where will we go? This will severely affect the poor workers," factory owner Darpan Gupta told Reuters.

Space constraint

But the city government denied the charge, saying action was being taken only against those units causing pollution.

"We have to abide by what the court has asked us to abide by," Delhi Chief Minister, Shiela Dixit, said.

She said the government was trying to relocate the industrial units, but was constrained by lack of space.

"We just do not have the kind of land and therefore it will not be easy for us to shift these industries in as short a time period as the Supreme Court has envisaged," Ms Dixit said.

Delhi is said to be one of the most polluted cities in the world with one of the highest concentrations of vehicles in India.

Most of the factories that are being shut down are small-scale units and many are located in the overcrowded eastern districts of the city.

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See also:

24 Jan 00 | South Asia
Pollution ban on Delhi factories
17 Dec 99 | South Asia
Taj nights face legal challenge
23 Sep 99 | South Asia
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