The Tata Power unit at Jojobera
More trouble seems to be brewing for Tata Power as a team from the state Assembly committee on pollution control, environment and tourism found out on Wednesday that fly ash dumped by the company was adversely affecting agriculture land in Birsanagar.
The three-member team, led by Jamtara MLA Vishnu Bhaiya, carried out an inspection of farmlands bearing the brunt of slag dumped by the Jojobera-based unit belonging to India’s largest integrated power utility.
“Tata Power has failed to fulfil its corporate social responsibility. During our interaction with the company’s representative, we were told that they were dumping fly ash at a low-lying pond on the request of local residents. However, it has failed to take steps to ensure that the fly ash thus disposed does not get carried away by rainwater to adjacent farmland,” said Vishnu Bhaiya, the committee’s chairman.
According to norms, plants should confine effluents and waste at dumping yards by constructing boundary walls. Tata Power has not followed this guideline.
The team has asked regional officer of Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) R.N. Choudhary, who had accompanied it, to write to Tata Power, seeking a reply as to why it did not comply with standard norms.
The chairman further said they would table a report in the Assembly and recommend closure of the unit if it fails to toe the line within a week. The committee, however, gave a clean chit to Lafarge Cement, also in Jojobera.
The team also visited M/s AML Limited in Seraikela-Kharsawan to verify complaints of pollution caused by coal dust emitted by it.
“The unit, which was closed for a few years, reopened a week ago without intimating the pollution control board. During the inspection, we found that the water sprinkler system was not functioning properly leading to coal dust pollution,” said Barhi MLA Uma Shanker Akela, a member of the committee.
26jamassembly-1: The Jojobera unit of Tata Power plant
26jamassembly-2: Jojobera based Tata Power plant. File Pic