Talcher: Talcher in Angul district, also known as the town of black diamond, earns the highest revenue for the state government.
At the same time, this sub division has also earned a dubious distinction of being the highest polluted area in the state. And this is because, as local residents allege, the state government’s failure to translate decisions on how to reduce air pollution into execution.
According to locals, years ago, all the coal laden trucks from here used to ply through Dera-Handidhuan-Pabitramohan square. After several demonstrations and strikes, coal transportation through the above mentioned square was stopped and the transportation continued National Highway 53 from December 16, 2017.
But later on, it has become the bane of Talcher residents’ existence. On an average, 5000 coal-laden trucks ply through Bankadhara Chowk, College Chowk, bus stand, by-pass Chowk, Pabitramohan Chowk and Balhar Chowk in the town. Because of this, the town and its nearby areas seem to be covered with a thick blanket of dust and black smoke.
Employees of various offices like Sub Collector office, tehsil office and block office use this road. Similarly, people going to court, patients to hospital and students to schools and colleges also use this road.
For them, it has become a harrowing experience to reach their destinations, negotiating through trucks and dust. On most occasions, they find it difficult to commute on the road due to poor visibility caused by the dust and smoke. The two and four wheelers have to put their lights on during day hours while passing through this stretch.
That apart, the dust gathered on either side of the road turns the road slushy even after a little shower, making it more difficult to commute on the road. In the past, several accidents took place on this rood due to horrific conditions. Illegal parking on the NH is further aggravating the problem.
The administration seems to be not concerned about getting the road rid of dust, taking no steps to sprinkle water regularly and to stop illegal parking, some local residents alleged, adding, “Nor is it implementing previous decisions to check pollution.”
“Every day, political leaders, administrative officers and officials from pollution control department commute on this road. They experience the problems. But yet, nobody is serious about putting an end to the problem,” they observed.
“The state and central governments are getting huge revenues from Talcher. Yet, the sub division has not received the care that it deserves. Due to farsightedness on the part of the administration, the people are facing more and more problems. As of now, about 70 per cent residents are suffering from respiratory related diseases. And in coming days it is expected that the situation may go out of control,” they alleged.
They urged the administration to take immediate steps to save the sub division from ever increasing pollution.
Sub Collector Paresh Chandra Nayak refused to give any comments regarding this situation, saying that he was at a meeting.