ROURKELA:After a lull, the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has recently issued whips to a host of industrial units including sponge iron plants in the environmentally fragile Sundargarh district for non-compliance of pollution guidelines.
Till recently, the OSPCB was not very harsh with almost all 45 sponge iron units facing continued loss and majority of them still running with about 30 per cent of its capacity.
Sources said among others, Agrasen Sponge Pvt Ltd, Shree Mahavir Ferro Alloys Pvt Ltd, TR Chemicals Pvt Ltd, OCL (India) Ltd, Ganesh Metallics Ltd, Times Steel Ltd and Reliable Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd were served with notices for violations of consent to operate (CTO) conditions. Following a two-day inspection in Agrasen Sponge plant at Mandiakudar in first week of October, the OSPCB authorities came out with critical remarks.
The report on Agrasen Sponge plant claimed about continuous emission of fugitive dust from the emergency cap of DRI Kilns-III & IV and stacks causing extensive air pollution to the surrounding.
It also reported emission of fugitive dust from product house and stock house areas indicating dysfunctional of pollution control system, deposits of thick layers of fine dust over internal roads and work zone and described overall housekeeping practice as unsatisfactory.
Analysis of the Ambient Air Quality near the office building and ESP area of Agrasen Sponge was found to contain particulate matters of 227 and 253 microns respectively against the prescribed standard of 100, the report stated. Similar remarks were made for Mahavir Ferro Alloys having sponge iron capacity of 500 Tonnes Per Day (TPD) and a 20 Mega Watt (MW) power unit. Agrasen Sponge has capacity of 200 TPD.
OSPCB sources said the OCL (India) Ltd, a mega cement plant at Rajgangpur town, was recently served with show cause notice for non-compliance of CTO conditions and causing air pollution. Show cause notices over similar reasons were also slapped on Ganesh Metallics, TR Chemicals and Times Steel, all sponge iron plants.
Acting on a complaint of villagers of Sagjore in Rajgangpur block, the Board in September had asked Reliable Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd to reply on show cause after allegation about spillage of substantial amount of furnace oil to the Kilinga stream was found true. Reliable Sponge is claimed to have rectified the effluent treatment system. A few other sponge iron plants were served with notices for failing to activate online pollution monitoring system. OSPCB Regional Officer Mukesh Mahaling said they are keeping a watch on violation of pollution control guidelines and recommending appropriate actions.