ROURKELA: Following intervention of Sundargarh district administration, the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has recently forced three polluting sponge iron plants to shut down. The rest eight polluting sponge iron plants in Bonai sub-division have been given a week’s time to mend ways.
The OSPCB action comes in the wake of protests by villagers against the rising pollution generated from Bonai industrial cluster, about 60 km from Rourkela. Earlier, on March 19, locals of Bonai had blocked National Highway (NH) 143 at Kendrikela and Dareikela for 12 hours following which then Collector Vineet Bhardwaj formed an administrative team, headed by Bonai Sub-Collector Swadha Dev Singh, to inspect and take appropriate action against the polluting plants.
After Bhardwaj’s transfer, the present Collector S K Meena continued the crackdown on polluting units, leading to the punitive action.
Sources say the team comprising senior administrative and OSPCB officials had visited 11 sponge iron plants in Bonai industrial cluster between April 25 and May 2. Following closure notices from OSPCB, BR Sponge & Power Ltd (Tumkela), Maa Mansadevi Alloys Pvt Ltd (Tumkela) and Ores Ispat Pvt Ltd (Gurundipali) shut down between April 27 and May 3.
The Bonai Sub-Collector said the three most polluting units shut down on their own. The plants would be allowed to resume operation only after total compliance to the pollution control guidelines, she said.
Singh further said the remaining other eight sponge iron plants have been given strict instructions to adhere to all pollution control norms in a week or face strict action.
The OSPCB officials would ensure quarterly visit to all 11 sponge iron plants in Bonai and review pollution control compliance, she added. Incidentally, Meta Sponge Pvt Ltd at Kalunga near Rourkela had also shut down after OSPCB issued closure notice to it on April 27.