Successive crop loss, cattle dying slow death, ailments and mounting debts. That's the fate of Yadaiah as he struggles to revive his fields at IDA Bollaram that have gone dry from effluents discharged by the industries.
Once lush fields, they have all gone arid and nothing grows here now,
“It's all because of this,” Yadaiah points a cursing finger to the trickle of dark water criss-crossing through the parched fields.
Despite assurances from the industries and authorities, locals from villages straddling the industrial areas of Bollaram and Kajipally complain that pollutants from the industries continue to wreak havoc.
“The air chokes heavy with smoke and odour released by the industries most of the nights. We struggle to breathe and are not sure about the effects of it on us and particularly our children,” laments Lakshman Pradhan who runs a petty store close to the IDA Bollaram crossroad.
Further ahead, villagers flock around with complaints of ailments. “My vision has gone foggy and I am worried of losing my sight,” says 32-year-old Suresh.
At Gandicheruvu, Ramulu and his fellow villagers narrate similar woes. “I have developed severe pain of knees and am struggling to take even few steps,” he says.
Complaints of lost appetite and stomach ulcers apart, there are others with feet damaged badly from exposure to the effluents flowing in.
“Skin has started to peel off from my heels and the suffering is unbearable,” says Narsimhulu of Kishtaiahpally. From Gandikaluva, the effluents flow down quietly and surreptitiously into other connecting water bodies and Gandicheruvu.
“From there, it goes into pedda cheruvu and all along the course the effects of pollution is felt,” says Yadaiah.
The villagers complain that with fields affected badly, their source of income has vanished leading them to penury.
One of them said that representatives of the industries had promised to pay Rs.1,000 per acre but even these payments were not reaching them.
“May be some middle men are just pocketing them,” grumbles one.
Till last year, the real estate boom of the city and its immediate suburbs did have some investors scouting and buying land here at around Rs.2 lakh per gunta. But now there are no buyers even if distressed farmers want to put their lands for sale.
The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) officials say that effective action was being taken against industrial units that err by releasing untreated effluents this way.
There have been some closure notices, albeit temporary closure, served onto them and most units were joining the initiative to invest in improving the situation.
The conditions prevailing here worries even those who have been fighting the effects of pollution for long in Patancheru.
“Things have started to improve in Patancheru, but dumping effluents in IDA Bollaram is on and this is getting carried here by water bodies,” says A.Kishan Rao of Patancheru Anti-Pollution Committee.