Jajpur/Kalinganagar: Sparks flew as people warned of a mass stir and a repeat of the Kalinganagar firing incident at a public hearing held in connection with the establishment of a private cement plant here. The hearing was held at Danagadi Bhawan near Kalinganagar in Jajpur district Wednesday.
Chettinad Cement Corporation Pvt Ltd is planning to establish a cement plant in Jakhpura Mouza near Kalinganagar in the district. The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) organised the hearing.
The firm will produce 2 X 1.0 million tonnes of Portland Pozolana Cement (PPC), Portland Slag Cement (PSC), OPC and slag from its planned plant at an investment of Rs 180 crore. The cement firm claimed that it will employ 180 persons at its plant.
The people who have been duped by various companies in Kalinganagar with promises of employment, development and other things were in no mood to listen as they demanded shutting of the plant first.
Police and company security personnel were deployed inside Danagadi Bhawan where the public hearing took place. They were seen driving out villagers who opposed the plant.
People attending the hearing said the plant should not be established as they will have to face serious pollution problems.
Around 600 villagers opposed establishment of the plant in writing, and 30 of them raised their voice against the plant.
They warned that any attempt to establish the plant without resolving their problems will lead to a mass stir and result in a repeat of the Kalinganagar firing.
Observers said the incident occurred as companies are not fulfilling the promises which they had made during the establishment of their plants.
The villagers who gave up their farms and homes for establishing the plants are disillusioned as the firms have not given them employment and they are suffering the pollution generated by the plants.
A villager, Aswini Dhal, from Jakhapura spoke about the nature of pollution that will arise from the plant and its impact on villagers. He asked the authorities to rehabilitate the villagers of Kudumisahi, Kacherigaon, Arasahi and Dashamania as they will have to bear the brunt of the pollution.
Lopamudra Nayak, Chairperson Danagadi block, Pushpakanta Nayak, former Sarpanch Jakhapura, Ramesh Sethi, Kailash Sahu and other villagers said the company was trying to trick them without paying them compensation and making arrangements for rehabilitation.
ADM Santosh Kumar Mishra, SPCB’s Regional Officer Pramod Kumar Behera and ASP Rajkishore Behera attended the public hearing.
SPCB Regional Officer Behera said a report will be prepared on the basis of public opinion, and the result of the public hearing will be published on their website within 10 days.