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Environmental Costs of Industrialisation: A Study of Durgapur Region in West Bengal

Majumder, Rajarshi (2009): Environmental Costs of Industrialisation: A Study of Durgapur Region in West Bengal. Published in: Rabindra Bharati University Journal of Economics , Vol. IV, (March 2010)

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Industrialization is perceived as inseparable part of economic development and developing economies adopt policies for transformation of agro-based underdevelopment regions to industry-based developed regions. However, public awareness about environmental problems emanating from industrialisation has swelled significantly and researchers have been trying to evaluate the consequence of pollution through field studies and quantitative analysis. It is now accepted that the benefit from industrialisation in a region needs to be examined against the perceived costs of increasing pollution and has to be carefully studied before allowing any further industries to come up in that area. This paper attempts to evaluate monetary costs of environmental damages in the rapidly industrialising locality of Durgapur Municipal Corporation in West Bengal. Using WTP and WTA methods, it is inferred from the study that the residents are quite aware of the problems caused by pollution from the present phase of industrialisation in the locality and are willing to pay to protect / clean the environment. The estimated valuation of environment in the area comes out to be around Rs94 million, if the residents seek to protect current environmental standards. If however, the residents want to go back to the situation prevalent before the neo-industrialisation process was set in, then the cost comes out to be a whooping Rs272 million. This is a pointer to the fact that we must look at such costs before embarking on further industrialisation process in the region to protect ecological/environmental balance and keep the system sustainable.

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