Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal on Monday issued a stern warning to cement manufacturing units in Jaggayyapet against neglecting pollution norms.

Dr. Uppal was reviewing the situation in the wake of the growing unrest among residents of villages located in and around the cement factories. Pointing out that the residents had to take to the roads to make known their health-related grievances that were a direct result of the air pollution, the Joint Collector said the issue had assumed an alarming proportion and could not be overlooked any more.

“A petition has already been filed in the Lok Ayukta highlighting increasing number of lung problems due to the growing pollution levels. Companies involved must realise their social responsibility and take steps on a war-footing to curb pollution,” he said.

Turning the heat on the transport companies, he said vehicles used to transport coal powder from railway wagons to the cement factories were found to be acting in gross violation of rules. Instead of being fully covered with tarpaulin to prevent any possible spillage, the truckers simply used a small cover that was far from adequate.

Deputy Transport Commissioner T. Raghunath admitted that he had observed coal powder from moving vehicles dropping and settling on roads. The vehicles found to be overloaded or improperly covered would be immediately seized.

Executive Engineer of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) S. Venkateswarlu said dust pollution was a major issue in the area. Stating that dust sources had been identified at the transfer points, he said failure of the transporters to properly wet the loads was yet another cause for the spillage.

He also mooted a permanent water sprinkling system along the route.

Dr. Uppal said cement units should collectively form a ‘pollution control coordination committee' and chalk out a comprehensive action plan to address the issue.

He gave three days to companies to submit their reports on the steps they proposed to initiate to better the situation. .

The administration will coordinate with the Railways, RTA, APPCB and the police department to find a permanent solution to the issue.

Sub-Collector K. Dharma Reddy and representatives of the police department, Madras Cement, Kakatiya Cement, Maha Cement, Hemadri Cement and other companies were present.

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