The breach in Hindalco Industries Limited (HIL) ash pond on August 3 destroyed standing crop. With fields covered with ash, an uncertain future stares Gadmunda farmers in the face.
Farmer Ajit Barik (35) had completed transplantation in his 14 acres when the breach pour ‘ash’ on his hopes for a good crop.
Similarly, Prafulla Pradhan (50), who had cultivated paddy over 3.6 acres, is clueless about his future with his land covered with ash. His land is situated just below the embankment of the ash pond where the breach took place.
It is too late for them to clean the ash slurry and start all over again.
Scientists at Regional Office of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) too accused HIL of ignoring their direction on ash pond. They had written to HIL informing them about the sliding in ash mound and suggested stone patching.
After OSPCB issued directions for shutting down the Captive Power Plant of HIL, in a belated action, the Irrigation Department lodged a complaint with the Hirakud Police on Sunday.
It is said that the Department was aware of ash slurry flowing in the canals of Sambalpur Distributary though the incident came to light on August 6 after farmers took up the issue and after failing to save their crop.
Farmer leader Ashok Pradhan said the farmers seek a permanent solution to the recurring problem besides compensation.