Keonjhar: Even as rampant mining has taken a heavy toll on forests and environment in various parts of this district, locals have accused the Brand Steel and Power Pvt Ltd of causing water and air pollution in Palaspanga area.
The locals are fuming even as the pollution watchdog has allegedly failed to take action in this regard. Various quarters have demanded immediate measures to curb pollution. The plant has been operating on the banks of river Aradei for the last seven years. But the company has not given employment opportunities to the locals, it is alleged.
Local farmers claim the administration gives much importance to the plant instead of agriculture in the area. The plant has been discharging its effluents into the river while dust particles emanating from the plant pollute water and air respectively.
As the river water is polluted, people using it face health hazards.
Locals said that a layer of dust settles down on pond water, farmland and gardens in the area.
People of Jaumudiha, Murusuan, Hundula, Bisthapal, Mangalapasi, Nuadihi and Palaspanga villages are at the receiving end of industrial pollution.
Locals said, as black dust lay on leaves and grass, domestic animals feeding on them are affected by various diseases.
Besides, vehicles carrying minerals to the plant have left the village road in a bad shape.
Locals pointed out students of Jamudiha Primary school near the road are always affected by dust pollution caused by mineral transportation to the plant.
An officer of the regional Pollution Control Board, Puspa Chandra Behera said a complaint was received about pollution from the plant and steps will be taken after an investigation.