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Mines of Curse

"As per the recent report of the Pollution Control Board, Mahanadi, Bramhani, Rusikulyaa, Nagabali, Subarnarekhaa and Baitarani rivers are highly polluted and all these rivers have lost their natural cleansing systems and these rivers water grade are not even ‘C’ grade, owing to which it is not possible to drink water."

HNF Bureau : August 08, 2009

If mineral reserves are considered to be reasons of prosperity for countries world over, Indian states with huge mineral reserves consider it their ill fate as mining industries are causing lots of damages than helping people live a quality life. It may or my not be applicable to other Indian states, but Orissa is facing the wrath of large scale mining and related industries in the state, says Orissa mining and industrialisation update.

As per Indian Bureau of Mines, Orissa has mineral deposits of 1,808.27 million tones of Bauxite, 202.96 million tones of chromites, 174.48 million tones Nickel ores, and 4,760.63 million tones of Iron ores which comprised about 55%, 95% and 33% the total deposit at all India level.

In financial terms, mining sector contributed about 6.98% to the GSDP during 2007-08 at 1999-2000 prices. GSDP in mining sector during 1999-2000 was Rs.2,03,285 lakh, which mounted to Rs.5,13,293 lakh in 2007-08, showing an average growth of 12.59% per annum. The increase in mining sector is about 2.52 times from 1999-2000 to 2007-08. The state Government is committed to bring out the state mineral policy to ensure expeditious and scientific exploration, development and exploitation of mineral resources.

However, these calculations by economists do not allure people of the state and particularly those who live in the mineral rich belts as the boom in mining industry has just spoilt their life and the environ.

One of the measure problems arising from the present industrial evolution in Orissa is water pollution. Firstly, the ground water of Orissa is getting polluted and drying, and the major six rivers’ water is drastically polluted and it is dangerous for human use. As per the recent report of the Pollution Control Board, Mahanadi, Bramhani, Rusikulyaa, Nagabali, Subarnarekhaa and Baitarani rivers are highly polluted and all these rivers have lost their natural cleansing systems and these rivers water grade are not even ‘C’ grade, owing to which it is not possible to drink water.

Discharge of effluents from smelter plants to water bodies cause fluoride pollution in Angul. Fly ash effluents from captive power plants contain chromium, lead, cadmium and iron. These effluents discharged to the nearby water bodies pollute the water. The river Brahmani has major industrial pockets and a number of coal and chromite mines in its basin. The river Nandira at Talcher is said to be dead due to discharge of fly ash effluents into the river.

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The mines of Mahanadi Coal Fields and NTPC draw about 25 Cr litres of water per day from the River Brahmani and in return they release thousands of gallons of waste water, which contains obnoxious substances like Ash, Oil, Heavy Metals, Grease, Fluorides, Phosphorus, Ammonia, Urea and Sulphuric Acid, into the River Nandira (A tributary of River Brahmani).

The effluents from chlorine plant cause chloride and sodium toxicity to the river Rushikulya – the lifeline of southern Orissa. The Phosphoric Fertilizer Industry discharges effluent containing Nitric, Sulphuric and Phosphoric acids into river Mahanadi.

Discharge of hexavalent chromium from chromite mines of Sukinda pollutes the water of rivulet Damasala as well as the water in ponds and wells in around 2-5 km. radius of the mining operation. Soluble iron from mines of iron ore pollutes the water of river Baitarani and wells and ponds of Keonjhar. In the Mahanadi river basin, many polluting industries and at least ten coal mines discharge huge quantities of waste water with heavy metal and sulphur compounds during monsoon, posing a serious environmental threat. While massive industrial pollutants are being regularly drained into it, drainage water flowing into the river adds further toxicants.

Rivers of Orissa are getting heavily polluted by industrial and mining wastes threatening the life and livelihood of local people. River pollution has now become a major threat to the eco-system and an important cause of environmental pollution in Orissa. It’s really high time to think about the problem seriously to avoid the future havoc. 

 

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