Mining-affected families seek NHRC probe
The villagers affected by mining activities in Lanjiberna and its vicinity in Rajgangpur Assembly constituency have urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to depute an independent team to assess the environmental hazards and the resultant problems faced by them.
Chepo Ekka, Litu Minz and others in their petition on November 26 also submitted photographs and video clippings as proof to the commission’s law division.
The move came after NHRC asked the petitioners to file their reply on having perused the replies of the Sundargarh district administration and cement major OCL India Ltd. Continuing mining operations at the Lanjiberna dolomite and limestone mines of OCL has been a bone of contention among the villagers and OCL. Sources said the petitioners in 2007 had sought the intervention of NHRC to protect the people of Lanjiberna, Rangia Dippa, Tanatoli, Bihabandh, Kheramuta, Pelkatoli, Tongritoli and Ramabahal from miseries. They accused the administration and OCL of working hand in glove and misguiding the NRHC. The groundwater table receded to unprecedented levels and in summer people faced water crisis.
They alleged that with scant regard to the norms, the crusher is located at a stone’s throw from Lanjiberna and frequent blasts lead to sound pollution and mud houses developed cracks. The 15-km overhead conveyor belt meant for uninterrupted supply of raw materials from the mines to OCL Plant at Rajgnagpur results in dust pollution in at least eight thickly populated villages.
Talking about the sufferings imposed on them, the villagers said Lanjiberna-Bihabandh-Kheramuta and Kukuda and Saliameta were cut off from each other as panchayat roads are being used for mining operations.
Puncturing the claims of a hospital for the villagers, they said it does not even have a blood test facility. They accused the administration of resorting to dubious means to favour the company as families of Duckatoli village were displaced citing Gram Sabha resolution by the Lanjiberna gram panchayat. They claimed that the village falls under Kukuda GP and Lanjiberna is not at all a GP.
The company had earlier replied that it was doing everything in strict adherence to norms.