Keonjhar: The district administration will be tough on mining and industrial units causing pollution in Keonjhar district.
Meanwhile, Collector Ashish Thakre said legal action will be taken and FIRs lodged against the mining and industrial units, if they are found flouting pollution control norms.
This move has come a day after an Assembly Standing Committee paid field visits to the mineral-bearing areas like Joda and Barbil Tuesday. The committee expressed concern over the rising level of pollution due to mining and mineral transportation.
During the field visit, local people had gheroaed the committee members and an official of the State Pollution Control Board over dust and air pollution in their areas.
Notably, a committee headed by the Collector is supposed to review pollution issues in the district. Representatives of mining firms, officials of the mine and transport departments, representatives of the mineral transporting agencies are part of the committee, which is supposed to take action against the violators. It was alleged that nothing is being done against pollution.
Reports said, this mineral-rich district is allegedly choked with pollution caused by mining, mineral transportation and industrial units, even as guidelines made by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, are thrown to the winds.
Following a Supreme Court order, the NEERI guidelines are in force to rein in pollution induced by mining and industrial sector.
It was alleged that the administration and pollution regulatory body has failed to act against pollutant units.
As thousands of mineral-laden tippers, trucks and trailers shuttle in and out of the district round the clock, they have taken a huge toll on the local environment. Pollution has emerged as a growing menace in the region. Resentment has been brewing over pollution
Transportation of iron ores, manganese and other minerals is going on rampantly, violating all rules and regulations amid allegations that no action is being taken against the transporters carrying minerals in uncovered vehicles.
Simultaneously, the vehicles are causing severe traffic jams on various routes and even on NH-520. Due to mining and industries, more than 137 villages of 22 GPs of six blocks including Joda, Bansapal, Hatadihi, Sadar, Jhumpura Harichandanpur are allegedly affected by pollution.
Joda and Barbil areas are reportedly the most polluted towns in the state. Several mines and industries are operating in the area, causing much pollution.
Puskar Behera, the regional officer of the State Pollution Control Board, said, “We are keeping vigil on pollution by setting up online monitoring stations. We are going to set up stations to monitor pollution due to mineral transportation in road-side areas.”
He, however, said that pollution has been in control in mining and industrial areas, but steps are being taken to check pollution caused by mineral transportation outside the mining and industrial areas.