ANGUL: Though coal mining is proverbialy associated with Talcher and has proved to be a major revenue grosser for the State economy, it has turned a major bane for the local people. Dust pollution caused by the mining activities has forced the people to lead a daily life of breathlessness.
Huge amount of coal dust emanating from nine coal mines and soil dust produced by wheels of thousands of trucks plying on kuchcha roads for transportation are major pollutants in the area.
According to sources, about 50,000 heavy vehicles ply in and out of the mines for the coal transport round the clock everyday. Besides, 10 railway sidings engaged in coal transportation are another source of the dust emission.
A layer of black dust sits heavily over all the water sources including wells, ponds and rivulets in the area rendering those not only unhygienic for human consumption but also life-threatening. An aerial view of human habitation presents a shocking picture of the roofs of dwellings of all kinds, be it concrete or asbestos or thatched, wearing a black blanket.
2 Huge amount of coal dust emanating from nine coal mines and soil dust produced by wheels of thousands of trucks plying on kuchcha roads for transportation are major pollutants in the area
2 About 50,000 heavy vehicles ply in and out of the mines for the coal transport, besides, 10 railway sidings engaged in transportation
The production and spread of the dust is so pervasive that it has brought the neighbouring places of mining areas under its dark and vicious grip. It has also a tell-tale effect on neighbouring districts of Angul and Dhenkanal.
Besides water-born diseases, the locals find it difficult for breathing in the affected areas. People coughing out heavy swathes of black materials during morning is a common complaint. While those earning livelihood are forced to live, others prefer migration for, at least a healthy living condition.
In the age of cutting-edge technology that engulfs all spectrum of life, lack of anti-pollution measures by the mining authorities, whose budget runs into thousands of crores of rupees, has posed a serious concern among the the environmentalists. According to them, the fundamental step of sprinkling water on freshly mined coal, stockyards, roads and loaded trucks is undertaken in a half-hearted manner.
“This is a serious problem and I have issued several notices to MCL authorities in the past, but to no avail,” said Talcher Sub-Collector, SB Mishra.
At the same time, there is no remedial measures on the part of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to contain the menace. The locals have resorted to agitational methods to draw the attetion of both State and mining administration, but strict enforcement of norms to check pollution remains a far cry with the suffering turning a prolonged affair.