Jhumpura: A beneficiation plant operating at Dubuna under Jhumpura block of Keonjhar has allegedly been polluting water bodies in remote hilly and tribal-dominated villages like Malda, Basantpur, Nayagada and Kutugaon, a report said.
Locals alleged the company has been releasing effluents and sewer water into Jalapa creek. The Jalapa creek carries such waste and effluents into the Baitarani river.
Thousands of tribals of Nayagad, Kutugaon and Malda panchayats depend on Jalapa creek and Baitarani river for bathing and cooking purposes. Safe drinking water has been a problem in the tribal pockets.
The tribals have dug up pits along the riverbeds of Jalapa and the Baitarani to collect water for drinking purpose. The water is contaminated and the contaminated water is also used for farming.
Locals alleged they have drawn attention of the plant management and the district administration to water contamination issue several times in the past, but the issue has not been sorted out till date.
As per reports of the health department, these tribal pockets are malaria-prone. Water contamination of Jalapa creek has added to their problem.
“By using the creek’s contaminated water, people have been affected by various diseases like diarrhea. If people go to police station against the company about the water contamination, police are allegedly threatening them,” they lamented.
They also pointed out that some people have been implicated in false cases. The officials of the water resources department could not be contacted.
Contacted, KK Sharma, a staffer of the plant, said that toilet water is not being released into the creek. “I will check if the toilet water might have entered the creek by chance during the monsoon,” he added.