Villagers trapped in between coal mines and industries in Angul - demanded habitant planning.
By Bijay Mishra
Around 260 villages , urban areas and hamlets of Angul district particularly from Talcher , Kaniha , Angul & Banarpal blocks are presently trapped in between coal mines , industries and allied activities , lead to unprecedented socio-economic and environmental hazards to the people .
Another 60 villages in Chhendipada Tahsil will be trapped further due to proposed 20 coal mines , from which land acquisition for some mines have been started all ready .
The Govt allowed the companies to acquire the particular villages and areas where coal is available . However , existing in between two mines & industries, the other villages are severely suffered due to massive mining and industrial activities.The people of these villages are suffocated due to sever pollution ,water scarcity and traffic jams caused by rampant mining & industrial activities around them . While most of these trapped people are not the beneficiary of the land oustees and seriously affected due to health hazards by severe air, water & land pollution are now continuously demanding to displace them immediately.
Angul may be the only place in the country , where people are on strike all most everyday demanding displacement from their own land . The total habitat structure has been disturbed in Angul district due to most unplanned mining and industrial activities in the thickly populated areas .
The mineral explorations to production and transport are causing environmental damage in many ways, which includes deforestation, loss of topsoil, accelerated soil erosion, migration of wildlife and avifauna, and addition of air pollutants and dust to the atmosphere.
While Coal production in Odisha’s largest coal mining district Angul is estimated to increase nearly 3 times in the next 10 years, reaching over 300 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2033, people are apprehending a severe disaster in the area .
In this background , in a urgent meeting of “ Citizens Action Forum “ various environmentalist & local leaders urged for a “habitant planning “ for Angul -Talcher - Meramundali industrial area before further mining and industrial activities .
“ Simultaneous expansion is planned in other coal-dependent industries, such as fertiliser , steel, aluminium, etc in the district. This will add to further environmental disaster in this critically polluted area . “-told Mr Rabindra Prasad Pattanaik, President, Citizen Action Forum .
“Without consulting the affected people , as many as about 20 coal mines are auctioned in a small region of Chhendipada block for commercial mining and it will adversely affect lakhs of people of Angul district at large “- told veteran environmentalist & Goldman Prize Winner Mr Prafulla’s Samantaray
Mr Bijay Parida , President of “Jana Adhikar Parisada “ told that , the problem of mining-induced displacement and resettlement poses major risks to societal sustainability in Angul district . Without habitat planning coal mines are allowed to operate in Chhendipada , Talcher and Kaniha area.”
“Angul is the epicenter of Odisha’s coal mining and industrial economy and further industrialisation along with cement plants , expansion of steel plant and around 20 coal mines in Chhendipada will just aggravate the present disaster . “-told Sasmita Behera , Activist
“In this background , Govt most place urgent habitant planning for healthy and just survival of the people trapped in between mines and industries in Angul district . “-told Dr Sudhi Ranjan Das , Environmentalist.