An analysis by the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal (NIT-K), of phosphate stored on the premises of a Baikampady-based company, has found the sample contained 5.16 per cent of phosphorus pentoxide.

However, Ullas Shetty, Chairman within KSIA on issues related to Karnataka Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (KSSIDC) and Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) infrastructure, said the percentage of pentoxide in the phosphate was 18 per cent according to the company.

He said he had visited the company, Transworld Furtichem Pvt. Ltd., along with N. Lakshman, Environmental Officer, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), on November 26. Mr. Shetty said the level of phosphorus pentoxide was not dangerous but it may have an effect in the long term.

The KSIA had alleged that the phosphate dust was causing health problems among people working in the industrial area and a protest was staged some time ago in front of the industrial unit. Following this, a sample was sent for analysis to the NIT-K.

Vidya Shetty, Head of the Department, Chemical Engineering, NIT-K said, “We have to find out the ill effects of that and only then say (whether or not it affects people’s health in the long term).”

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the members of the Association were to jointly meet with the company’s officials. However, since the KSPCB officials were not present, the visit did not take place as scheduled.

N. Lakshman, Regional Officer, KSPCB, said the company would deploy a dust-absorbing machine in three months’ time.

Vinod Gadia, one of the four directors of Transworld Furtichem Pvt. Ltd., which processes the phosphates in Baikampady, said up to 40 per cent of pentoxide in phosphates is allowed all over India. He said he could say nothing about the test results until he saw the report. He confirmed that his company had sent a letter to The Hindu signed by its “labourers and management” that “no itching or burning is reported from anybody as it does not contain any harmful elements”.

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