KOIDA : People of mineral-rich Koida block in Sundargarh district are compelled to live in miserable condition with movement of mineral-carrying heavy vehicles causing dust pollution. While plying of passenger buses and private vehicles reduces during rainy season, it is dust pollution during other times of the year which poses problems for commuters and villagers alike.Sources said movement of heavy transport vehicles on these roads, which lack black-topping, has converted soil deposit into thick layers of fine dust. Every time heavy vehicles pass through these roads, they raise clouds of dust making life miserable for pedestrians, bi-cyclists, motor-cyclists and roadside shops.
CPM leader Pravat Panda pointed out that road stretches from Koida police station to DDM office, police station to block office and OMM Chowk to Medical Chowk are highly affected. Visitors to the health centre are not spared as heavy vehicles make frequent trips to the private weigh bridge adjacent to hospital. About 12-km stretch from Koida bus stop to Tensa, 18 km from Gonua to Koida, 13 km from Patmunda to Koida used by mining houses are also in highly damaged condition and pose similar problems, he added.
Sometimes heavy vehicles pass through the village roads polluting even remote areas with flying dust, Panda said, adding that water sprinkling is done by mine owners only after public pressure. About 45-km stretch of the NH-50 from Rajamunda to Rengalbeda running through Koida is also in pathetic condition. The NHAI is trying to making it motorable as a temporary arrangement.
Bonai MLA of CPM Laxman Munda said for years, they have been frequently protesting over the issue, but to no avail. He said for nearly two decades, villagers of Koida have been suffering due to bad roads, adding that the NHAI belatedly floated tenders to improve the condition of NH-520. The district administration should improve the condition of the rest of roads, he added.Deputy Director of Mines (DDM) of Koida Salil Behera said everyday between 75,000-80,000 tonne minerals get transported through 5,000-6,000 trucks and the mine owners have been instructed to regularly sprinkle water on dusty roads.