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Unchecked sewage, industrial waste ‘poison’ Barmer villages

Doli village and its adjoining areas in Barmer district have been witnessing environmental degradation for the past many years

jaipur Updated: Jun 04, 2018 22:11 IST
Dinesh Bothra
Dinesh Bothra
Hindustan Times, Jodhpur
Rajasthan News
Accumulated wastewater at a culvert in Doli village.(HT Photo)

Doli village and its adjoining areas in Barmer district have been witnessing environmental degradation for the past many years.Agricultural land is deteriorating, wells, ponds and groundwater is getting polluted.

It is because all these years no government agency has shown interest in managing the sewage and industrial waste from Jodhpur city, which reach the villages through the Jojari river.

Situated 50 km away from Jodhpur city, the livelihood of residents of Doli, Araba, Doli-Rajgura, Doli-Khurd village in Barmer district is mainly based on farming and animal husbandry. All these villages are located along the tail end of seasonal Jojari river, which acts as the main drainage of rainwater of Jodhpur city.

Bhimaram Vishnoi, a resident of Doli, said that till a decade ago, after rains, the villages received rainwater through the Jojari river, but now the polluted water flows in it throughout the year. “There used to be shortage of water in the Desert Region during the summer season, but nowadays the fields in these villages have become ponds of polluted water,” he added.

“Due to the sewage and industrial discharge coming from the textile and steel rolling industry of Jodhpur, the soil of our fields has become reddish. Chemical water has weakened the foundations of houses. There have been cracks in the walls of many houses. Mosquito breeding is on rise in the waterlogged areas, which is spreading diseases in villages,” Vishnoi said.

Villagers have filed a case against the pollution with the National Green Tribunal. Recently, the court commissioner submitted his report to the NGT, in which it has been disclosed for the first time on the basis of the satellite study that how after 2005, the sewage and industrial waste of Jodhpur city has disrupted the lives of Doli-Araba villages.

“The flow extent of Jojari river does not reach up to the downstream of Doli in April 2000. It was found that in April 2010, the flow extent of the river started stagnating in Doli. There is no variation in river extent from April 2000 to April 2005. But a considerable variation exists in the flow extent of the river from April 2005 to April 2018,” the court commissioner pointed out in his report.

“The river extent is calculated for no rainfall condition. So, it is clear that the increase in the extent of the Jojari river is due to increase in industrial and sewage discharge from the year 2005 to 2018. At present, the river extent and area affected seem to have reached beyond Doli with impacted area equalling to 406.37 hectares, that is about 100 times the area affected in the year 2010 for the pre-monsoon period,” the report stated.

“A similar study has been done for the post-monsoon period. It has been found that there has been a consistent increase in post-monsoon river extent over the years. The area getting fully or partially submerged by storm water from Jojari river in August 2010 was found out to be 172.64 hectares, which has increased up to 589.44 hectares in August 2017, almost four-fold increase in the past eight years. This increase of flow extent of Jojari river is mainly due to increase in industrial and sewage wastewater,” the report stated.

Araba village Sarpanch Narapat Singh Rajpurohit said neither the government nor the administration pays heed to the complaints of villagers. “Things are getting worse for a decade. In Doli village, Anganwadi centre and health centre are submerged in polluted water. Blackbucks, chinkara and other wildlife are being killed by drinking polluted water. Hundreds of people are suffering from itching disease. The water of the wells is no longer suitable for drinking,” he said.

“Who will listen to us? Now the last hope is from the NGT. Otherwise, all will end, neither will the animals survive, nor the fields, neither the water, nor the life,” Rajpurohit said.

First Published: Jun 04, 2018 22:05 IST