Tag Archives: Western Odisha

Fly Ash to take 30 acres of Land everyday

“In Odisha, the fly ash management issue cannot be looked into in isolation of the power plants and aluminium smelters. As the land, water and forest resources of the state cannot sustain the amount of coal fired power plants, Odisha government must not go ahead with its envisaged 75000 MW power generation plan.”

HNF Correspondent

The recent disasters with fly ash ponds in Sambalpur and Jharsuguda have concerned each and every citizen of Odisha.  While fly ash from coal fired power plants is considered to be toxic and cancerous, it is badly impacting lakhs of acres of farm land, severely polluting our water resources, poisoning our food and creating menace in different forms for the people living around.

There is an urgent need to regulate ‘fly ash generation and pollution’ in the state, said Ranjan Panda, Convenor of water Initiative Odisha (WIO) in the consultation session titled “Round Table on Fly Ash Menace in Odisha: Impacts on Water, Health, Environment and Livelihoods”. The session was organised by WIO in association with Citizens Action Forum (CAF), Angul.

 “The meeting was organised to devise a strategy by the concerned people and organisations of Odisha to device and push for an urgent fly ash management policy in the state”.

Prof. Arttabandhu Mishra, an eminent environmentalist said, “it’s a big trouble as at least 22 heavy metals are there in the fly ash, and 18 of them are cancerous that would lead to lungs, bone and other cancers in both humans and animals”. Prof Mishra also added that “by declaring fly ash as a saleable commodity, the Govt. of India has cleared the door to spread cancer in all the places of coal fired plants.”

Members who participated the consultation session expressed their concern over the callousness of the government towards the issue. The government is not even bothered to check open violation of laws by different companies. “None of the power plants are confirming to the pollution control regulations of the country,” said Rabindra Prasad Pattnaik, President of CAF adding, “Each of them is supposed to submit a Plan of Action to the government with regard to fly ash management. However, none do it.”

“The fly ash management issue cannot be looked into in isolation of the power plants and aluminium smelters”, opined the participants and urged, “Odisha government must not go ahead with the envisaged 75000 MW power generation plan as the land, water and forest resources of the state cannot sustain the amount of coal fired power plants.”

It was calculated that 700 gram coal required to produce one unit (1 kw per hour) of electricity produces about 300 grams of ash per unit. So, 300 Kg ash being produced every hour for I MW (1000 kw) electricity, Odisha’s plan to generate 75000 MW electricity shall generate 22500 metric tonne of ash per hour which requires around 1.2 acre of land to be dumped in a height of 30 feet.

As per the calculation, the fly ash produced in a day would take at least 30 acres of land in Odisha every day if all the fly ash mounts are made of 30 feet height. This will orphan lakhs of farmers and fisher folks of their basic sources of livelihood. The participants therefore urged upon the government to immediately scrap the blind push for coal fired power plants.

The consultation came up with a charter of demands that the organisers have decided to submit to the Govt. of Odisha and to use the same to educate the people of the state. Some key demands in the list include:

1. Urging the government to stop production in all coal fired power plants who are not confirming to fly ash management and other pollution control norms;

2. Asking the government to release a White Paper on the existing power plants, their coal, land, water and other requirements with transparent information on the legality of these resources they are in possession of/and or using for production;

3. Urge the government to immediately work on a power vision for the state and limit power production to meet the need of the state.

It’s to be noted that fly ash has its bigger brunt in the state of Odisha as it has not only destroyed agriculture and polluted environment but also poisoned the water of some important rivers and pushed people into chronic ailments.

Downpour improves rainfall deficit in state

The last few days’ downpour has drastically improved the state’s rain deficit. As of now, the state has received 816.5 mm rainfall which is one per cent above the average normal rain of 809.4 mm. This is the first time that the state has received excess rainfall this season, meteorology department officials said on Tuesday.

Sources in the meteorological department said five of the total 30 districts in the state have received excess rainfall between 25 and 29 percent and 18 districts have received normal rain. Sambalpur has recorded 29 per cent above average rainfall, followed by Nayagarh and Cuttack (27 per cent each), Jharsuguda (26 per cent) and Bargarh (25 per cent).

There are seven districts in the state which are still suffering from rainfall deficit even though their condition has improved.

Balasore district, which suffered with rainfall deficit for over a month, has reduced its deficit to 32 per cent followed by Gajpati (27 per cent)), Bhadrak and Deogarh (24 per cent each), and Jajpur and Mayurbhanj (20 per cent each).

The last few days’ showers have brought smiles on the faces of farmers. Paddy, the major crop in the state has been covered in 29.43 lakh hectare area in kharif this year so far against 27.35 lakh hectare area covered during the corresponding period last year.

Five Person killed in train mishaps in western Odisha

Five persons were run over by trains at level crossings in three different locations in western Odisha on Friday and Saturday.

Three persons, Jitendra Bag (20), Bhakta Kalo (22) and Upendra Khadia, (25) from Balanda village of Pandari panchayat in Jharsuguda district’s Belpahar police station area were hit by the Azad Hind Express at Belpahar level-crossing on Friday evening. Jitendra and Bhakta died on the spot. Upendra succumbed to his injuries later at a local hospital.

A youth, Arya Kumar Ashim, slipped from the Durg-Puri Express at Balangir station on Saturday and died on the spot. On the other hand, Kanhu Mirdha from Ghumka village in Sadar police station area, was crossing Hatibari level crossing on his tractor when the Sambalpur-Puri Intercity Express hit him on Saturday morning, killing him on the spot.

A colourful celebration of Sambalpuri folk culture

The concluding evening of the Rangabati Festival in Bhubaneswar saw a colourful celebration of Sambalpuri folk culture. Singer Jitendriya Haripal stole the show performing to “Rangabati”.

That apart, many foot-tapping Samblpuri folk songs were also presented with instruments like dhol, nisan, mahuri, tasa, tamka and jhanj keeping the beat. Dancers from UKIA, a folk-dance academy from western Odisha, performed Sambalpuri dance ensembles like Karma, Parva, Dlkhai and Dhap. Mailajada, a dance form based on social customs of Western Odisha, was the concluding event of the evening.

“We had a good time watching the performances on Sambalpuri song and dance. Jitendriya Haripal’s song, “Rangabati”, was what I enjoyed the most,” said Abinash Mohanty from the audience.

No respite for Sambalpur from climbing mercury

No respite for Sambalpur from climbing mercuryThe mercury refused to climb down in Sambalpur as this western Odisha town sizzled on Friday afternoon with the temperature hitting the season’s highest of 46.7 degree Celsius. The town has been experiencing extreme hot weather for the past four to five days with the temperature hovering above 45 degree Celsius.

It recorded 45.5 degree Celsius on Wednesday and climbing upwards touched 46 degree Celsius on Thursday. Meteorological office sources said if the cloud condition remains unchanged then the temperature will further up in the coming days. “Sambalpur today recorded 46.7 degree Celsius, this year’s highest,” said K Singh, the met officer of Sambalpur.

Thursday’s heat took its toll too. A daily-wage labourer of Sambalpur’s Modipara area died allegedly because of sunstroke taking the town’s heat wave toll to 6. The labourer was identified as Gukul Naik (45). He collapsed near his house after returning from work on Friday afternoon. He died on the spot.

But the district administration is yet to confirm the death. “We have so far received only one complaint of such death from Maneswar area. But it is difficult for us to confirm the death because it was cremated before post mortem. But we have sent the report to the government”, said Jayanarayan Dash, the district emergency officer of Sambalpur, on Friday.