Paradip, August 18 (LocalWire): Villagers of Musadiha, especially 25 families of a rehabilitation colony, have expressed their serious concern about the discharge of iron ore effluents by Essar Steel factory and the alleged violation of effluent norms by the company alleging that it is polluting the river and water bodies in the surrounding areas.
According to sources, people from different areas of the state like Baleswer, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh and other districts were hired as contract construction workers at the Oswal Chemical and Fertilizers Ltd in 1998.
During this time, Oswal had erected a rehabilitation colony at Musadiha for over 25 contract workers who have now been settled here for over 20 years. The company had even provided drinking water and electricity facilities to these families.
Suffering heavy loss in business, the Oswal Company later sold its factory to IFFCO in 2005.
The families allege that nothing has been done for their development of the colony during the last 20 year and their living condition has worsened due to the discharge of iron ore effluents from the Essar Steel Plant.
The plant violates the norms by releasing the industrial waste directly into the nearby river Mahanadi without adhering to the required specifications laid down by the Pollution Control Board and the local people have urged for an independent probe by an expert committee on the issue.
“The Essar Steel plant has been a curse for us.
The discharge of iron ore effluent and chemical water has entered into our home.
The road has been filled with chemical water and we are living in critical condition.
The dust from the conveyor belt is polluting the air causing suffocation. Our dress materials, saris, roofs, and walls have all turned red with dust cover.
Neither Essar company nor the administration has paid any heed to our grievances,” Minu Nayak, a resident of the rehabilitation colony said.
Residents also allege that they have developed water-borne and skin diseases due to the chemical water and iron ore effluents of the plant. “Trees and plants in our area are dying because of the excess pollution caused by the industrial effluent,” they added.
The allegations are confirmed by the Nuagarh sarpanch Babita Sethy who agrees that Essar steel plant has been discharging effluent from its steel plant directly into nearby rivers and water bodies.
“This rehabilitation colony has been affected due to the iron ore effluent and chemical water.
Things have come to such a pass that the livelihood of the 25 families of this rehabilitation colony is now at stake. I have raised this issue with the authorities of the Essar Company but they have completely ignored it by violating the effluent norms.
In fact, the authorities are not willing to improve the situation because Essar is selling the facility.
Hence, we have sought the intervention of the administration and Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to take action against the company,” she said.
According to OSPCB regional officer Ramesh Chandra Ekka, the Board has not yet received any allegations regarding the discharge of chemical water and iron or effluent at Musadiha.
“The discharge of effluent and chemical water in Musadiha village and water bodies is a serious violation of effluent norms and we will take stern action against the company after conducting an inquiry in the matter,” he assured.