Restoration of polluted Edayar paddy fields getting delayed

Panel of experts yet to inspect fields to ascertain the source of contamination

April 14, 2022 11:03 pm | Updated 11:03 pm IST - KOCHI

A report of the Central Pollution Control Board had pointed to heavy metal contamination in the Edayattuchal paddy field in the Edayar industrial region.

A report of the Central Pollution Control Board had pointed to heavy metal contamination in the Edayattuchal paddy field in the Edayar industrial region. | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The restoration of the polluted Edayattuchal and Chakkarachal paddy fields in the Edayar industrial region is getting delayed, according to an evaluation based on official records.

The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) in its report submitted to the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on April 10 had said that the restoration work was likely to remain sluggish. It admitted that the joint committee of experts appointed by the tribunal as per an order dated April 13, 2021 had not yet conducted an inspection to ascertain the source of contamination of the paddy fields.

A report of the Central Pollution Control Board in December last had pointed to heavy metal contamination exceeding the limit in the paddy fields. It said that the now defunct Edayar Zinc Ltd. (formerly Binani Zinc Ltd.) was responsible for the phenomenon. The report had recommended that remediation work be executed by the industry in accordance with a detailed project report (DPR) prepared by the Central board.

However, the latest report filed by the PCB said that the committee members had not properly analysed the DPR. Studies for the preparation of the DPR were completed in 2018. The board’s report claimed that the floods in 2018 and 2019 could have caused considerable reduction in crucial parameters of the soil.

The report said that the review sampling conducted along Kuzhikandam Thodu, another area identified for remediation owing to heavy pollution, showed substantial reduction in the concentration of various parameters.

There has been no concrete step yet to recover ₹47.88 crore from the company as the cost of remediation of the contaminated sites. Meanwhile, the State authorities maintained that neither the industrial unit management or the bank that attached it had given any reply on remitting environment compensation. The company authorities had earlier requested the court to fix the liability only on the basis of proper evidence, as they were not the only industry functioning in the area.

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