Umerkote: A blanket of dust is always found on leaves of maize plants in acres of farmland giving them a brown look in Nabarangpur district. Farmers here have flagged concern over such a situation. They lamented that dust is impacting the growth of maize and will eventually harm the harvest. The sudden dust problem is arising due to the 500- odd vehicles engaged in the construction of the RaipurVisakhapatnam road works under the Bharatmala project.
Farmers alleged that the lack of dust control measure is polluting the surroundings. They said that even spraying water on the road would minimise dust pollution to a great extent. Construction of the Raipur–Vishakhapatnam road passing through this town in Nabarangpur district is in full swing. As a result, over 500 trucks, tippers, and heavy vehicles carrying minor minerals pass on this route daily, leaving a cloud of dust and smoke behind. Dust-induced pollution has choked the lives of people and destroyed standing maize crops, farmers alleged. They added that reckless transportation of minor minerals is polluting the environment and affecting the growth of crops. The plight of Jaga Saanta, a farmer of Bhalusahi village under Badakumari panchayat is a case at this point. He has alleged that dust emanating from the road has destroyed his maize plantation. He added that he has no idea where he would repay the loan for maize plantation. Saanta also said that he had visited the Bharatmala camp office near his village and pleaded with the truck drivers and officials to sprinkle water on the route, but his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Locals said that they are not opposing the construction of the road, but their problems should also be addressed. The villagers alleged that several other crops like vegetables and paddy have also been affected due to dust pollution. They warned of an agitation if the Bharatmala project officials and the district administration failed to redress the situation.
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