Suryakant Jena

Angul: Residents of several villages under Kaniha police limits of the district continue to bear the brunt of high pollution levels in the area due to the incessant dust, fly ash and spillage of effluents from nearby NTPC and Jindal India Thermal Power Limited plants.

Hundreds of locals took to streets and staged a dharna demanding that the company should immediately make provisions for relocating them to some other area as severe levels of air pollution and spillage of effluents into their farmlands have made the area unsuitable for living.

The local residents demanded that since the NTPC has already aquired 80 percent of land nearby the area, the company should immediately take over the remaining 20 percent land and make provisions for their rehabilitation at some other place.

Local resident Renumanjari Behera said fly ash emanating from the power plant is making life miserable for residents of Kaniha and the nearby areas of the town.

"Flow of fly ash, generated due to burning of coal in the plant forms layers of dust on our food items, stored water and  even water bodies used for bathing and cleaning purposes. Everyday we have to clean our houses multiple times. Due to air pollution, increase in respiratory diseases has also been witnessed in the area," said Behera.

Another resident Budhadev Sahoo said the authorities are unconcerned despite the fact that the matter has been brought to their notice several times.

"The collector and the other local administrative officials have been apprised about our concerns time and time again but nothing has been done in this regard. Therefore we are forced to protest and If no action is taken to address the problem, we will intensify our agitation and continue it till our problems are solved," he said.