Damanjodi: Tension prevailed in Dengajaniguda village under Dasamantpur block of Koraput district as residents prevented revenue officials from identifying land for construction of a red mud pond of Nalco.
The tribal villagers are up in arms since Friday after they came to know that the aluminum major was planning for construction of a second red mud pond in the village.
Red mud is an industrial waste generated during the processing of bauxite into alumina using the Bayer process and is composed of various oxide compounds, including iron oxides which give it a red colour.
It contains toxic heavy metals and its high alkalinity makes it extremely corrosive and damaging to soil and life forms, presenting a massive problem for disposal.
According to reports, tehsildar Ajay Tirkey, accompanied by revenue inspectors, supervisors and a platoon of police force reached the spot to identify land for the purpose.
The villagers on seeing the revenue officials opposed them asking them to go back. The officials tried to placate them but they refused to listen. The face-off sparked tension in the area as the officials were forced to return back from the spot.
Later, the police registered cases against some persons on charges of instigating the villagers against the revenue officials and preventing them from discharging their official duty.
Meanwhile, the villagers have demanded that the administration should relocate them elsewhere before constructing the red mud pond.
The villagers have alleged that the water seeping from the first red mud pond, which is two kilometres away from the village, has destroyed their farmland, natural streams, nullahs in the area and has affected many people with skin diseases.
People have been suffering from drinking water problems. Villagers like Pinky Bisoyi, Malati Bisoyi, Kundu Bhoi, Chitra Mudli, Tuni Muduli, have been suffering skin diseases while another villager Rama Jani has lost his eyes.
The villagers have apprised Laxmipur MLA Prabhu Jani, former MP Jayaram Pangi and BJP leader Bhrugu Buxipatra about their problems and have warned of continuing their fight till their demands are met.