The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has expressed deep concerns over widespread river pollution in Odisha saying almost all rivers are fed with huge waste from industries as well as urban local bodies.
Brahmani, the second major river in Odisha, which is life line of 51.11 lakh population, has come under increasing pressure due to discharge of domestic waste of urban centres such as Rourkela, Angul and Talcher and in-flow of untreated water from chromite mines in Sukinda Valley of Jajpur district, the latest CAG report on the Economic Sector pointed out. The report was tabled in the State Assembly on Thursday evening.
According to the CAG, IIT-Kharagpur was assigned by the State Pollution Control Board to carry out a feasibility study on establishment of the effluent treatment plant in Sukinda Valley. As per the recommendation of IIT-Kharagpur, individual ETPs were to be upgraded to manage surface water containing dangerous Hexavalent Chromium.
“Nine out of 11 working chromite mine owners agreed to upgrade their ETPs during September 2013 to June 2014. However, only four out of nine have done so till September 2014,” CAG pointed out.
Mahanadi, the largest river of the State, has not been spared. “Central Pollution Control Board observed (September 2007) that effluent management system of a fertiliser plant at Paradip was very poor and seepage from guard pond needed to be controlled. Further, inspection reports of the SPCB during May 2013, July 2013 and March 2014 disclosed that contaminated storm water from internal drains in factory premises,” it found.
The apex audit body said, “Water quality of pond was acidic in nature and contained high concentration of fluoride ranging from 33.6 mg/l to 1140.0 mg/l against standard norm of two mg/l. It had not provided adequate control measures to treat overflow of water to river Mahanadi or any treatment facility at contaminated storm water drain before entering into earthen pond.”
The CAG has detected weak enforcement of environmental law leading to pollution of rivers such as Baitarani, Ib, Nagabali, Kuakhai, Kathajodi, Daya and Ruishikulya.