Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar/Paradip: With Paradip fast emerging as a major petro-chemical hub, the state government has begun an environment impact assessment of areas lying close to the industrial zone in a bid to attempt to sustain ambient surroundings.

The government has laid emphasis on environment control measures as Paradip is fast striding towards massive industrialisation. With the centre bracketing Paradip under mega petroleum, chemicals and petro-chemical investment region (PCPIR), the importance of the port town has gone up manifold with investment to the tune of Rs 2.74 lakh.

Moreover, the town awaits to be an industrial hub with a steel project, oil refinery and scores of ancillary industrial units queuing up to have base here. The environment control stays at the top of government’s priority with various big-ticket industrial ventures queuing up for establishing base here, said Jagatsinghpur Collector and District Magistrate, Mrs. Yamini Sarangi.

The Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) would don the mantle of the nodal agency while the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) as the anchor tenant for development of the PCPIR, she said.

To assess the environmental impact of PCPIR and operational industries, state-run IDCO has entrusted consultant agency, Hyderabad-based Environmental Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI) for conducting a study. The experts from EPTRI yesterday visited various parts of Paradip Port Township, areas lying close to the refinery project besides the villages coming under the now-held-up posco steel project, said Paradip Additional District Magistrate, Biswajit Biswal.

A member of consultancy farm, Goutam Majumdar said “we visited the villages and localities lying in the vicinity of industries, port and oil refinery complex. We visited the spot of sea erosion near Jatadhari river Mouth. The air quality standard was examined by us. We studied the water-bodies and vegetation to ascertain whether the industrial pollution has a affect on it. We inspected the standing betel vineyards in proposed posco project villages of Dhinkia and Gobindpur village near the oil refinery complex. Our team also interacted with local people including betel vineyard owners. We will later submit our findings to IDCO”.

A local resident of Kujang, Arun Kumar Parida said “I had petitioned the Prime Minister’s office highlighting the plight of farmers in the posco project villages. Pollution sourced from the refinery has taken a heavy toll on the betel vines farming. We are happy to know that a team of pollution experts assessed the pollution-ravaged betel vineyards”.

Incidentally, these betel vineyards were spared from dismantling exercise undertaken nearly three years back for acquisition of land for the big-ticket posco steel project. Even though 2700 acre of land has already been acquired for the steel venture, the project has now been scrapped.

Anybody travelling to Paradip could easily feel that he has stepped into a pollution zone. Unarguably, Paradip would figure as country’s most polluted port city. The pungent smell is everywhere. Spurt in respiratory ailments has become the order of the day in Port Township. Dust particles coming out of raw materials transportation and port’s cargo handling often envelop the skyline. Ore transportation has become a major pollutant agent in the port township area. The plants and species in and around the cargo handling spots of port are found wearing grey look, charged green activist, Ayashkant Ray.