Jajpur: Though the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has sought a reply from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) on its clean chit to Vedanta-owned Facor Ostapal chromite mines in Sukinda over discharge of toxic effluents into Damsala nullah, the latter continues to maintain its silence on the issue and is yet file a reply, a report said.
The Facor Ostapal chromite mines are being operated by the Vedanta group in Sukinda.
It is alleged that the industrial and mining giant is discharging toxic effluents from the mines into Damsala nullah and polluting the water body, which is a natural stream in the area.
The effluents containing various harmful chemicals and minerals have been posing a major health risk to the people in the area. A case regarding the alleged discharge of toxic effluents into the Damsala nullah is sub-judice before the CPCB.
Proof regarding the allegations was confirmed from a WhatsApp chat between the Vedanta mining staff. Despite the serious allegations, the regional officer of SPCB at Kalinganagar has given a clean chit to Vedanta.
A report in this regard has been submitted by the member secretary of SPCB before the CPCB, June 21.
However, MK Choudhury of DHPR division of CPCB shot off a letter (CB/PR/PG/2021-22) to the member secretary of SPCB seeking his reply after the petitioner RK Singh raised objections to the clean chit given to Vedanta.
SPCB is yet to file its response on the issue while, the CPCB too has fallen silent.
According to the complaint, around 15 lakh cubic metres of toxic water and effluents were discharged into the Damsala nullah over a month instead of sending it to the effluent treatment plant of the mining major.
Peeved over the development, the complaint RK Singh as well as the residents had lodged complaints with the Union government’s Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System as well as with Jajpur District Collector and SPCB.
As directed by the CPCB, the SPCB conducted a probe into the charges but submitted a report giving a clean chit to Vedanta. The SPCB ruled out any discharge of effluents into Damsala nullah by Vedanta.
Later, the complainant RK Singh lodged a complaint before the CPCB July 6, 2021 alleging that the discharge of effluents into Damsala nullah has been proved.
He alleged that either the official of the SPCB conducting the investigation is ignorant of the matter or has submitted a favourable report yielding to pressures from Vedanta.
He urged the CPCB to conduct a fair and impartial probe into the charges. Accordingly, the CPCB has sought a reply from SPCB asking the latter to clarify the charges made by the complainant.
Meanwhile, the complainant Singh has filed several reminders before the CPCB through e-mails but the former is yet to respond to his queries.
Repeated attempts to contact the SPCB regional officer Pramod Kumar Behera on his phone failed to yield any result as he did not pick up the calls.