Farmers from Trilochanpur village and the adjoining areas under Dhinkia Panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district have alleged that their standing crop has suffered damages due to the discharge of chemical wastes from the nearby Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) refinery at Paradip.
The farmers claimed that water mixed with toxic oil, discharged from the refinery, flowing into their farmland has destroyed crops in an area of over 300 acres in the village and surrounding areas.
The residents of the Panchayat alleged that though they took up the matter with the local administration on several occasions, their grievances were not heard. The villagers of Trilochanpur also organised a Gram Sabha to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, when informed about the farmer’s plight, the Tehsildar at Ersama said that officials from the local administration would soon visit the village for ground inspection.
“A white layer has formed on the water due to which the paddy plants are gradually getting rotten. The water has even turned black due to the chemical discharge from the IOCL refinery,” alleged Dhananjay Behera, a villager of Trilochanpur.
“A thick layer of oil has formed over the water due to which fish and other aquatic animals have been dying. The water has damaged the crops and causing skin problems in the villagers,” alleged another resident of Trilochanpur village.
The villagers have also threatened to launch an agitation if the problem is not resolved at the earliest and compensation is not paid to them for the losses they have incurred.
Refuting the allegation, IOCL authorities claimed that no such wastewater was released into farmlands.
“Following allegation of the villagers, officials from the Health Safety and Environment department of the IOCL visited the refinery and conducted an investigation. No water is being discharged from the plant to the farmland. Wastewater discharge is stored in an oxidation pond which is then purified. 75 to 80 per cent of the treated water is re-used by the refinery, while the rest 20 to 25 per cent is released into the deep sea. No wastewater is mixing with farmlands,” said the Public Relations Office of IOCL, Sudhansu Sekhar Patra.