ROURKELA: Villagers of Hemgir block have accused the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) and the Sundargarh district administration of hoodwinking NGT by intentionally reducing coal transportation volume on the Bankibahal-Taparia road during the NGT inspection team’s visit on Friday.
Earlier, the NGT had taken cognizance of media reports about massive pollution as hundreds of trucks carry coal on the Bankibahal-Taparia road from Kulda mines of MCL in Hemgir block to Tamnar power plant in Raigarh, adjacent to Chhattisgarh. The heavy vehicles pass through 14 villages thus polluting the whole area. The inspection team had come for spot assessment.
Sources said the team consisted officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Central Pollution Control Board and was accompanied by officials of the Jharsuguda regional office of Odisha State Pollution Control Board, district administration and MCL. They assessed and collected information on coal dust pollution during coal transportation besides visiting the affected areas.
Though the villagers had gathered on road at Ratansara, Ratanpur, Kandhaduda and Samarpinda villages to meet the team members, the team’s convoy did not stop.Villagers complained that it was a well-planned conspiracy of the MCL and district administration to drastically reduce movement of coal trucks to impress upon the team that no pollution or inconvenience was caused.
Social activist Rajendra Naik said, Friday early in the morning they noticed sudden and drastic drop in movement of heavy coal transport vehicles. “On inquiry we got to know that the NGT team was visiting on the day. The villagers wanted to meet the team and apprise them of reality but were denied opportunity,” Naik said.
However, the villagers alleged that coal transportation was stopped on the Bankibahal-Taparia Major District Road (MDR) and resumed shortly after the team left.“We would write to the NGT about what happened on Friday during the team’s visit,” stated Naik. The NGT’s next hearing is fixed in mid-July.