Jajpur: The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has warned to close down seven mills including six rice mills in the state over violation of Supreme Court order on pollution management.
The matter came to the fore after SPCB issued show-cause notice to the errant mills in the first and second weeks of March.
Furthermore, it has warned to initiate legal action against the concerned firms if they fail to reply to its notice satisfactorily within 15 days.
Notably, ‘Paryavaran Surakshya Samiti’, a green outfit, had filed a public interest litigation (Case no-375/2012) in the Supreme Court over discharge of toxic water and effluents from the rice mills which were affecting the lives and livelihoods of the residents living in the vicinities.
The rice mills are: Maa Samalei Agro Products and Shanti Rice Mills at Bargaon, Sri Radhakeshav Rice Mill at Nua Larpanka, Preeti Oil Ltd at Rampela, Sri Durga Rice Mills at Nua Rampela in Sambalpur district, Minerva Paddy Processing Pvt Ltd at Bhadrapalli in Bolangir district, Sri Lakshmi Rice Mill at Brahmatukura in Bargarh district.
The apex court had February 22, 2017 heard the matter and ordered that the rice mills can be allowed to operate if they install effluent treatment plants (ETPs) on their premises and make them fully functional.
Accordingly, the apex court directed the SPCB authorities to oversee installation of ETPs in all rice mills within a period of three months.
However, most of the rice mills in the state are yet to install and operate ETPs even though five years have passed since the SC passed the order which is blatant violation of Section 33 (A) of Water Pollution Act-1974.
Notably, rice mills boil the paddy in eight to 20 tanks at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius. Each tank has the capacity to boil around 35 quintal of paddy.
The boiling tanks discharge over 50,000 litres of liquid effluents which is highly toxic in nature and harmful for humans as well as the environment.
The toxic effluents, when released on ground, destroy the soil fertility.
The effluents when mixed with water lead to spread of skin diseases, cold, cough, respiratory diseases, tuberculosis and if left unattended to might result in death of the patients.
The SPCB has formulated guidelines for proper management of these toxic effluents but the errant mills are violating the order.
The SPCB authorities had visited some rice mills in February when they found the latter are not operating the ETPs on their premises and discharging the effluents to their surroundings.
It is alleged that some rice mills have installed substandard ETPs to hoodwink the SPCB authorities.