Construction of BPSL ash pond stayed
Bhusan Power and Steel Limited (BPSL) at Thelkuli suffered yet another jolt with the regional office of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) directing it to suspend work on the proposed ash pond till further orders at Taraikela village in the district.
The residents of Taraikela, led by MLA Naba Kisore Das, have been protesting construction of the pond in the village.
Though located in Thelkuli under Sambalpur district bordering Jharsuguda, the BPSL has acquired 15 acres of land in the village for the ash pond and permission from the OSPCB. But with the recent breach of ash ponds resulting in damage to agricultural land in Hirakud still fresh in the minds of people, they are objecting to its construction. Moreover, the ash pond is located close to the Bheden river, the lifeline of the area and Saraswati Vidya Mandir.
Sources said as per the norms, ash ponds should be constructed away from human habitation and water bodies. But this ash pond under construction is just about 200 metres from the school and 160 metres from the river. Apprehending problem for the river and school, the villagers have long been objecting to the pond.
The suspension of work has come as a major setback to BPSL as it was progressing on the proposed ash pond.
Moreover, with BPSL on expansion mode, construction of the ash pond has become mandatory. The company had decided to acquire land in neighbouring Jharsuguda district for the purpose.
After the opposition, a team led by PK Prusty from Environment and Forest Department visited the spot and based on his report the work of the ash pond has been put on hold.