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Jharasagdu district is where the UK devil, Vedanta, plans to set up a huge alumininum smelter...

Published by MAC on 2006-04-07

Jharasagdu district is where the UK devil, Vedanta, plans to set up a huge alumininum smelter...

Assess eco damage before NOC issue: Panel

7th April 2006

BHUBANESWAR: The Assembly Committee on Environment headed by Speaker Maheswar Mohanty has observed that rapid industrialisation of Sambalpur and Jharsuguda districts posed a serious threat to environment. So it called for proper assessment of damage to environment before giving no-objection certificates (NOCs) to industries.

The Committee visited several areas in the two districts to make an on-the-spot assessment of the pollution control measures taken by different industries and mines. It has recommended that adequate plantation should be undertaken in the periphery of Talasira coal mines in Sambalpur district to arrest soil erosion.

Polluted water of the mines should be channelised to sumps through drains to protect the catchment area of Hirakud, the committee said in the interim report tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday.

The Committee observed that adequate effluent treatment facilities should be installed by Bhusan Integrated Steel Plant. It advised the company to dispose of the fly ash generated by the factory and solid waste like slag to brick manufacturing units and cement companies.

The Lazkura and Samaleswari open cast mines of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) pose serious threat to environment because of accumulation of dust along the mine roads. It observed that plantations undertaken in and around the areas of mining operation were not sufficient.

Besides, illicit felling of trees continues unabated in the old plantation site of MCL. Fly ash from the IB thermal plant of the OPGC is not only polluting the air of the locality but creating a layer on the water of nearby village ponds. Most of the wells and tube-wells go dry in summer, causing acute scarcity of drinking water for the local people, due to deep digging of canal connection by OPGC authorities.

The committee recommended that ponds and tanks of nearby villages should be treated to make water free from contamination and fit for human consumption. Pipe water supply should be made available by the OPGC authorities on top priority to the villages where there is a threat of contamination and scarcity during summer.

Besides, regular health check-up camps should be organised by the OPGC in the periphery areas of the plant to provide minimum health care to the inhabitants, it said.

Plantation work in the areas of operation of MCL and OPGC should be taken up by the Orissa Forest Development Corporation (OFDC). The Committee observed that the DFO and the district administration should cooperate on the issue.

It recommended that plantation of fruit-bearing trees should be taken up by the district administration in the vacant land on a massive scale.

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