Waste Dumping By NTPC, Pharma City Undermining Marine catch

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) calls upon the government to at least now seriously address the problems of fisher-folk in Paravada and adjacent mandals of Visakhapatnam district. These problems are the result of indiscriminate spewing of pollution by the NTPC Simhadri power plant as well as by various industries in the Pharma City. It is fortunate that no lives were lost in yesterday’s firing by the CISF personnel. However, if the administration and regulatory authorities continue to pay lip service to environmental concerns and the just demands and concerns of fisher-folk livelihood, it might result in tragic consequences in the future.

It is common knowledge that the area around NTPC and the Pharma City is among the most polluted zones in the State. Time and again, fisher-folk of Mutyalampalem, Tikkavanipalem, Sammingipalem, Dibbapalem and Jaalaripeta have complained of hazardous waste being dumped into the sea and local environs. They have rightly pointed out that this was seriously undermining marine catch thereby affecting their traditional source of livelihood. They have stressed in the course of several agitations that not only has the fish catch in the area declined drastically, the quality of fish has also deteriorated. Laying of a new pipeline by Simhadri project for sea-water withdrawal has rightly angered the fisher-folk since it would lead to further devastation of their livelihood.

Industries in the area have been brazenly violating environment statutory norms. This is because officials concerned are in collusion with plant managements and are not implementing the law to contain this assault on the ecology. Consequently, fly ash from the thermal plant has been accumulating over the years leaching into the ground water sources and also contaminating local water bodies. Fly ash is known to be toxic. It contains mercury, zinc, sulphur, arsenic, cadmium and even radioactive isotopes which can cause genetic disorders. Pollutants have already resulted in severe bronchial diseases and skin ailments among local people. Neither the plant management nor the government has addressed these issues with any seriousness.

We call on the administration to stop dragging its feet and to meet the just demands of the fisher-folk without further delay. Facilitating adequate livelihood is intrinsic to any comprehensive rehabilitation of project affected people. HRF demands that regulatory authorities take concrete steps to halt the environmental vandalism being perpetrated by various industries in the area.

VS Krishna
HRF State general secretary


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