Check damage to crops caused by pollution: NHRC

Taking exception to damage of crops allegedly by toxic gas emanating from Hindalco Industries Limited at Hirakud in Sambalpur district, National Human Rights Commission has asked State Pollution Control Board to curb the menace.

Akhand, an activist of India Media Centre, a voluntary organization, moved the commission drawing attention to “damage” of standing crops due to toxic gas emission. Taking note of the complaint, the NHRC directed to SPCB to take appropriate action in this regard within eight weeks. According to the petitioner, every year standing crops in thousands acres of land in the peripheral villages of Hindalco Industries Limited are damaged due to fluoride emission from the plant which has been recently confirmed by State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).

“Analysis of foliage and water samples collected from farmland revealed that there was impact of hydrogen fluoride gas on the crops. After testing samples of the crop and water from the fields, fluoride limit was found to be more than the permissible limit of 80 PPM (part per million),” said Mr. Akhand. He maintained that leaves of the standing crop had turned yellow due to toxic emission from the plant.

“Recently complaint of crop damage due to toxic emission by HIL has been made by farmers. They alleged that standing crop in 200 acres was damaged in Gujatal, Nua Jamda, Gundrupada, Chamarpada, Mohammedpur and Dengimocha villages after heavy rain for two days on October 12 and 13,” the activist pointed out.

“Neither company nor the government is taking measures to check the emission. As a result, hundreds of farmers are losing their crops every year which ultimately endangers their livelihood. Affected farmers have not got any compensation towards their loss of crops,” he alleged, adding that the case would be followed till pollution was stopped.

Activist says farmers report damage to crops on 200 acres

Neither the company nor the government taking action, he says