MP: NGT demands answers over Rihand Sagar pollution

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Oct 07, 2015 17:34 IST
Fly ash pollution clouds visibility in Singrauli — the energy capital of India. (Mujeeb Faruqui/ HiT file photo)

The principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the MP and UP governments to inform it by October 7 about the steps they propose to take to tackle pollution in and around the Rihand Reservoir — the country’s largest man-made reservoir — said the petitioner in the case.

The petitioner, Ashwani Dubey told HT over the phone that both the governments had been ordered to list the steps they would take to follow the recommendations of the empowered core committee, which was constituted by the NGT last year for assessing the environmental and health impacts of pollution caused by industrial activities in and around the reservoir.

The committee was mandated to conduct surveys of all industries in the area - both thermal power plants and coal-based industries.

Rihand Sagar is spread over 466 sq kms in MP’s Singrauli district and Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district, and is built over the river Rihand, a tributary of the Son river.

Stressing that the “comprehensive report shows very serious levels of pollution in the area,” the NGT in its September 29 order said that “efforts are required to tackle the environment hazards that could be drastic to human health. Let the state government and the respective boards hold a meeting and inform us on the next date of hearing, the steps that they have proposed to control air and water pollution, apart from health hazard to the public”.

The 300-plus page report was submitted to NGT in August and pointed out that the environment in and around Rihand Reservoir was getting damaged with high concentrations of mercury, violations in fly ash disposal, ground water pollution, among other things.

In the report, the committee also recommended that government should be cautious while allowing setting up of new industries or expanding existing ones in the Singrauli area — the energy capital of India, which is already declared a critically polluted area.

Report findings

The level of mercury concentration in ground water was found to be exceeding the limit of 0.001 milligram per litre in the samples collected from areas like Kirwani, Parasi, Harrahwa, Naktu, Chilkadand, etc

Fluorosis appears to be highly prevalent, especially in the two blocks of Chopan and Myorpure in UP

Groundwater in certain areas has been observed with high fluoride concentration like Govindpur, Kusmaha, Kakri, Sirsoti

The high pH (10.9) of the effluent discharged in Dongia Nallah in UP indicates improper treatment of effluent

Over 3000 acres around the reservoir has been occupied for disposal of fly ash by thermal power plants

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