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Sharmili Mallick

Paradip: The locals of Paradip opposed the public hearing on the proposed expansion and infrastructural development of the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) citing it to be a threat to the environment of the seaport town.

A public hearing was organised by Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) here on Saturday to get environment clearance for outer and inner expansion of the port.

The residents who attended the meeting alleged that the proposed expansion will affect the environment of the locality and demanded the concerned authorities to take pollution measures to check environmental pollution in the town.

Besides, the locals demanded the setting up of a super speciality hospital and medical college and threatened to resort to strike if their demands are not fulfilled.

"We oppose the public hearing for the expansion of port's berth at Sandhakud which will only increase pollution in the region. We will hit the streets if our demands for establishment of a super speciality hospital and medical college is not fulfilled," said president of Aanchalik  Suraksha Samiti, Raghunath Sahu.

"The expansion of the port will pollute the environment and affect lives here. I strongly oppose the move. We will intensify our protest if the concerned authorities undertake the expansion work," stated Paradip Nagarik Mancha's president, Ayashkant Ray.

On the other hand, Sub Collector of Paradip, Kanhucharan Dhir said, "The locals are not opposing the proposed expansion project. They are demanding the port authorities to work for the development of health and education in the town as well as to take steps to tackle environment pollution in Paradip."

Dhir also informed that a report on the allegations brought by the locals during the public hearing will be sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

"The issues raised during the public hearing have been video-recorded and we will take further steps keeping in view the environment condition of the area," said Regional Officer of OSPCB, Mukesh Mahalinga.

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