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Odishatv Bureau

Jajpur: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today ordered stringent action against Visa Steel's plant at Kalinganagar in Jajpur over company's failure to stop environment pollution and continuous release of polluted water into Ganda canal.

The NGT has directed State Pollution Board to take action against Visa Steel within two months and register a criminal case against it. "In view of the facts and circumstances, we direct the State PCB to talk stringent measures against the industry which may include order of closure. It shall assess environmental compensation against the damage caused to the soil and water as well as cost of restitution and remediation of the environment. In addition to this, criminal prosecution may also be instituted as prescribed under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974," the official order read.

As per allegations by the local farmers, the company released untreated water into canal which went to farmland and affected crops. Apart from that local residents also reportedly suffered from different diseases following which Kalinganagar Parivesh Surakshya Samiti lodged a complaint before the Pollution Control Board. However, after no action was taken, the committee and local residents filed a case before the NGT.

"Our crops are getting severely affected due to the polluted water released by the company. I am also suffering from skin problems as I spend most of the time in the farmland," said a farmer.

Speaking on the matter, complainant Ashwini Dhal, said "As per norms, there should be zero discharge from the factory, but polluted water is being constantly released which is affecting farming. Despite lodging complaint before pollution control board, no action was taken. So, we were forced to apprise the NGT."

Comments from Visa Steel could not be obtained.

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