Jajpur: A probe by Odisha state pollution control board (SPCB) into the alleged water pollution by the Brahmani Rivers Pellet Ltd (BRPL) at Kalinganagar in this district during the closure of the plant has raised serious eyebrows, a report said.
The SPCB conducted the probe and submitted the report before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), July 1. However, an affidavit filed by SPCB law officer Santosh Kumar Kuanr along with the report has raised eyebrows.
In the B-1 para of the report it has been stated the pellet plant is of 4 metric tonne capacity and was lying closed during the shutdown.
The submission has caught the SPCB in the wrong foot as an environmental outfit, Kalinganagar Paribesh Surakshya Samiti, the complainant in the case has questioned how the SPCB could conduct a probe when the plant is lying closed.
Reports said that as per rules, the plant authorities would have to inform the SPCB if they wanted to shutdown or close operations in the plant for maintenance purpose.
They will also have to seek permission from the SPCB when they want to run the plant. Accordingly, the BRPL authorities had informed the SPCB to close operations in the plant for maintenance, June 20.
However, residents informed the regional officer of the SPCB when they noticed black fumes emanating from the chimneys of the plant, Friday.
The SPCB regional officer tried to downplay the incident stating that black fumes emanate from the chimneys when the plant restarts operations after maintenance.
Residents refused to buy the statement of the regional officer which they termed as an act of favouritism of SPCB towards BRPL.
Sources said, Kalinganagar Paribesh Surakshya Samiti accusing BRPL of discharging waste water of the plant into Ganda nullah, a natural creek and polluting the water body had filed a petition (149/2017/EZ) in the National Green Tribunal seeking its urgent intervention in the matter.
The NGT hearing the matter June 15 directed the SPCB to conduct a probe and submit its report before the next date of hearing, July 5.
Accordingly, a team of SPCB officials comprising environmental engineer Hiranya Kumar Nayak and its regional officer Pramod Kumar Behera visited the plant premises which was closed for maintenance and conducted a probe June 24.
Residents have questioned why the probe was conducted during the closure of the plant and not when it was in operation. This has raised question marks on the transparency of the probe.
The probe report submitted before the NGT states that the BRPL plant has established two waste water treatment plants (WWTP) of 250 kilolitre (KL) and 150 kilolitre capacity each.
These waste water treatment plants help in treatment of 260 cubic km of waste water per hour in the plant. During probe, no waste water or treated water was found being discharged outside.
When contacted, the regional officer Behera said during probe, “It is not important whether the plant is in operation or in shutdown condition but whether it has taken necessary steps for treatment of the waste water produced in the plant.”
Earlier, it has been noticed that industrial plants discharge the waste water outside when it is in excess for their treatment plants. Recently, it was alleged that the chromite mines at Ostapal in the district discharged over 1500 lakh cubic metre of waste water outside from November till January last.
The waste water discharged outside was not treated in its treatment plant.
Moreover, industrial plants in their bid to reduce the maintenance costs of the effluent treatment plant and waste water treatment plant often discharge their waste water outside.