Khurda residents oppose industrialisation at ‘environment’s cost’

Khurda: Hundreds of residents of Jayamanagala village today blocked the National Highway no-57 connecting Khurda-Bolangir protesting administration’s move to forcibly acquire forest and village crematorium land to pave way for new industries. Alleging that environment pollution due to smoke and other waste released from different industries at Sarua Industrial Estate is already alarming, the Jayamangala residents staged a demonstration today to thwart any more industrialisation efforts.

Local residents alleged that IDCO is now identifying 150 acre from the 210 acre of cashew plantation in the area for new industrial units. Besides, IDCO also acquired the forest land and village crematorium and has constructed a boundary wall.

“The government has already come up with a roadmap for another industrial estate without holding any discussions. Besides, trees are being felled and boundary wall also constructed. We will intensify our agitation if no steps are taken to address our issues,” said Sanjay Harichandan, a local resident.

“We are facing problems as the sole pond in the village is getting polluted. Besides, the administration is trying to acquire our crematorium,” said Binodini Routray, another local resident.

Amid the agitation, vehicular movement on NH-57 was disrupted for over three hours. Keeping in view the palpable tension, adequate police force was deployed to maintain law and order in the area.

However, the situation was brought under control only after Khurda Sub-Collector and Tehsildar reached the spot and held discussion with the agitators.

“The villagers have submitted their demands in writing and we will forward it to the State government for appropriate action,” said Khurda Sub-Collector, Saroj Sahu.