MAC: Mines and Communities

Villagers against polluting quarries

Published by MAC on 2006-09-09

Villagers against polluting quarries

The Light of Andamans. Issue 39

9th September 2006

Port Blair: Residents of Birchganj, Prothroepur and Austinabad have lodged a strong protest to the chief secretary, deputy commissioner, and the secretary, environment and forests, SANE etc. about the pollution spread all around by stone quarries and crushing industries in the villages adjoining Corbyne's Cove quarry.

Constant blasting, non-stop movement of heavy trucks carrying stone products, raising dust 18 hours a day and the crushing units dotted along the road make life hell for the residents of the areas. RCC buildings in Birchganj and adjoining villages have developed cracks, plasters have started peeling off, people have developed respiratory problems and any amount of cleaning would not rid them of dust. It is a virtual hell for the people of the area.

Constant blasting till late at night had disturbed the sub-strata and wells and streams have gone dry. The orchards and plantations on top of the Birchganj hills have started withering effecting considerable crop loss to the land owners.

Complaints were lodged earlier also. But the contractor lobby is too powerful for the simple villagers. No complaint registers on the authorities, lament the villagers.

All the attempts to draw the attention of the authorities have failed so far. On enquiry, Mr. Rishikesh, Senior Scientific Officer II of Pollution Control headed by Dr. V. Krishna Murthy, Director & Member Secretary, had nothing concrete to offer. He said that the department had just received the joint petition of the villagers and it was 'under process'.

'The Light of Andamans', in its issue of April 08, 2006, had come out with a graphic report on the environmental havoc created by thirty-five quarries operating within an area of approximately three square kilometres. There is an international school right on top of the hill.

In support of their charges against the polluting industry, the villagers have enclosed a copy of The Light of Andamans' issue of April 08, in the hope that the administration would respond positively this time.

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