Chromium pollution in Brahmani river within tolerance limits: Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar in HC

According to the affidavit, there are 10 chromite mines which discharge their effluents into Damsala Nullah.
Brahmani river(File photo| Express)
Brahmani river(File photo| Express)

CUTTACK: Chief secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena in an affidavit filed in the Orissa High Court on Thursday claimed that the state government has taken up ‘with utmost seriousness’ the issue of chromium pollution in Damsala Nullah which flows through Sukinda Valley before joining Brahmani river.

The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) is closely monitoring the water quality of Damsala Nullah at nine locations every month to ensure that it is maintained below tolerance limit, Jena said.“All possible steps have been taken to keep the water quality of the river within the tolerance limit. Stringent actions will be taken against the units/mines discharging untreated water to the river. There will be no compromise on river water pollution,” he added.

The HC was taking stock of steps being taken by the state government to prevent the pollution caused in the Brahmani river and its major tributaries as part of the adjudication of a suo motu petition registered by it on the issue in 2014. According to the affidavit, there are 10 chromite mines which discharge their effluents into Damsala Nullah. But currently, seven mines are operating and effluents discharged by them contain Hexavalent Chromium as a pollutant.

However, concentration of Hexavalent Chromium has remained ‘within the tolerance limit of 0.05 mg from 2021’ as SPCB on the recommendation of IIT-Kharagpur ensured that all the mines upgraded their effluent treatment plants (ETPs).

The chief secretary also stated in the affidavit that the SPCB in order to further stricter control had directed two major mine operators of Sukinda-Tata Steel Limited and Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) to install continuous water quality monitoring system in Damsala Nullah. OMC has already installed the system in Damsala Nullah at the minor irrigation project.

“Tata Steel Limited is expected to complete installation of the system of real-time monitoring of water quality in Damsala Nullah by February this year,” Jena further stated in the affidavit. Taking note of the affidavit, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice BR Sarangi and Justice MS Raman indicated that it will constitute of team of experts to make a fresh assessment of pollution in Brahmani river.

Accordingly, it fixed January 24 for further consideration of the matter and directed Central Pollution Control Board’s counsel Bibhu Prasad Tripathy to take instructions and submit by then a list of names of experts.

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