BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) within four weeks over the release of toxic polluted water by Tata Steel in Kalinganagar endangering the lives of the people living in villages around.
The order came up from the Commission on a petition filed by rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra, who has alleged the inaction of authorities of Forest and Environment Department endangering the lives of people of 11 villages.
He alleged that the department has unholy nexus with Tata Steel plant officials to release toxic water into water bodies in Odisha’s Jajpur area.
The complainant alleged that toxic polluted water is being released from the Tata Steel plant into the nullah at Kalinganagar. There is a nexus between the officials of Pollution Control Board and the officials of the said plant.
The residents of Nuagaon village in particular, which is located nearby village of ‘Ganda Nullah’ at Kalinganagar have submitted their grievance representation to the OSPCB that Tata Steel releases toxic and other polluted water into the said Nullah, which has been endangering the lives of peoples of several villages.
The polluted water, which is used by many villagers belonging to Godigotha, Kandiakana, Baghabindha, Barigodha, Trijanga, Kusunupur, Nuagaon, Kharadi, Jodabara, Mangalpur and Balungabanda, created life threats and health hazards.
‘Several companies have set up their units in Kalinganagar, and all are discharging toxic water without required treatment and prior approval from the concerned authorities. The villagers reported that they found chemical water of Tata Steel being released into the Nullah. They also appraised the said matter to OSPCB. The officials only collected water samples from the place where the discharged water of the plant was mixing with the canal water for laboratory test and remain silent over the matter’, Mohapatra complained.
“It is a clear case of violation of water and air Act. Unfortunately, the concerned authorities’ inaction exposes their unholy nexus. It is also the responsibility of the corporate to respect and implement the guiding principles on business and human rights, and the state’s obligations to bring the practical realization of the United Nations guidelines and to take businesses to task”, her further added.