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Pollution rap prompts power firm to plug fly ash pond

Jamshedpur, Feb. 6: It took a rap from the state pollution control board for Kandra-based Adhunik Power and Natural Resources Limited (APNRL), located merely 15km from Jamshedpur, to take measures to prevent emission of fly ash into a rivulet, the lifeline of 23 villages of Seraikela-Kharsawan.

The thermal power plant at Padamdih village along Tata-Kandra road, which had so far turned a deaf ear to the villagers’ concerns, has plugged a leakage in its ash pond that was apparently the main cause behind discharge of fly ash into the rivulet that leads to Subernarekha river. It is also raising the level of its wall among other measures after the regional office of Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) issued a showcause notice on January 24.

The board’s office, which had also received a complaint from the villagers, acted soon after The Telegraph carried a report on January 17, highlighting how the residents were running from pillar to post to make the plant toe pollution guidelines.

JSPCB regional officer R.N. Chowdhury said he first sent a team to the spot for physical verification and collection of water samples from the rivulet, which has turned whitish, and then issued the showcause notice.

The water sample has been sent to the board’s laboratory in Ranchi for necessary examination.

“Before the news appeared in The Telegraph, local villagers had approached us, saying that fly ash was polluting the rivulet’s water that they used for bathing, washing utensils and clothes and watering farms. Acting on the report and the complaint, we sent a showcause notice to the thermal plant,” Chowdhury said.

He added that though the test report is yet to come, they had asked APNRL to monitor the total suspended particulate level in the effluents.

Acting on the order, the thermal power plant has repaired the defective water pump that was contributing to leakage of water containing fly ash into the rivulet. The accumulated fly ash is also being removed at regular intervals and transported in covered trucks to Jadugora for filling the abandoned open-cast mines of UCIL.

Company spokesman Anand Kumar said: “There was a leakage in the wall of the ash pond. The water in the rivulet was partially getting polluted because of this, but we have taken care of it.” He also said that another ash pond would be created.

Chowdhury, however, said he would visit the plant shortly to ensure that it had taken all necessary measures to check pollution.

Hari Tuddu, president of district unit of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Mahasabha that is spearheading the villagers’ protest, said they had noticed changes in the colour of the rivulet’s water. “Villages are saying that the pollution level had come down in the past week. The plant may have taken some measures,” Tuddu said.


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