Nalco pollution creates public anger

Angul: Ash and public sector undertaking National Alluminium Company(Nalco) at Angul in Dhenkanal district seems to have become two synonymous words of pollution and trouble for the people in and around the Navratna plant. The giant PSU, a milking cow for the government of India, is once again in the news and that too for the wrong reason. Irate villagers today staged road blockade on the Angul-Dhenkanal road to protest transportation of factory ash by truck which has made their daily life a hell. Strangely, the local office of the Pollution Control Board has no news about the gross violation of the rules and the mess it has left.

Throwing all environment and pollution related rules literally to its ash-pond, the Nalco authorities have hired trucks from private transporters to ferry ashes produced from the plant and dump it at places to their own sweet will. Result, several areas have been camouflaged into huge foggy balls. The trucks ferrying hundreds of tons of ashes dump the dusts at anywhere and everywhere. Naturally, the residents have to wade through ashes while their houses and even roads are filled with the unwanted dusts. Forget about plants, even animals suffer. Despite repeated pleadings when neither the administration nor the Nalco authorities paid any heed, the people were agitated to take to the streets.

Most ironically, the Pollution Control Board officials when contacted feigned ignorance about the mess. It common knowledge that transportation of ash by trucks is illegal and no one has given the permission for such kind of inhuman act. The moot question that arises now how could the Nalco authorities resort to the means of transportation despite inquiry by State Pollution Control Board, the factory and Broiler department and the assembly sub-committee.