Posts filed under ‘Industries and Environmental Issues’
Quality of air in the Jharsuguda and Sambalpur area is highly polluted: National Environmental Engineering Research Institution
BHUBANESWAR: The National Environmental Engineering Research Institution (NEERI), which undertook the ‘carrying capacity’ survey in Odisha’a new industrial hub of Jharsuguda and Sambalpur, has given thumbs down to the quality of air in the area.
The survey report submitted to the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) was aimed at examining if further industrialization is possible in those areas. The draft report is being examined by SPCB environment scientists.
“We have received the report and are examining the recommendations of NEERI. Another round of discussion will be held at Nagpur in November as to which components of the recommendations are necessary to take a decision regarding a cap on further industrialization in those areas,” said senior environment scientist of SPCB Dilip Kumar Behera. NEERI reports revealed that emission of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and fluoride are causing environmental hazards in the area, he said. “NEERI study reveals particulate matter — 10 and 2.5 — is responsible for air pollution. Mainly thermal plants, refractories, sponge iron units and coal mines are having an adverse effect on the environment,” said Behera. He, however, said NEERI didn’t give any industry specific recommendations.
The SPCB had entrusted NEERI to conduct the study in a 45 km radius area with Rengali in Sambalpur district as the epicenter. Earlier, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, had conducted a similar survey, based on which some industries, in the first phase, were given closure notice.
The basic purpose of the survey was to ascertain how much area in the districts can take the pollution load. “It was a typical scientific study based on which newer technology can be put in place to check pollution and expansion plans of existing industries and accommodation of new industries can be decided accordingly,” said NEERI director S R Wate.
There are around 23 sponge iron units in Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region. “After we felt that mostly sponge iron industries were responsible for dust and ash generation, we approached NEERI to conduct the study,” said SPCB environment engineer A K Swar. Odisha is the only state which has 110 sponge iron units, which emit 45% ash, he said.
He said earlier SPCB had recommended ‘no standalone’ sponge industry in the state. “If one applies for only sponge iron industry, he won’t be given the permit. A sponge iron industry henceforth can not be set up alone. There must be some ancillary unit attached to it,” said Swar. He said pneumatic dust handling has been made compulsory for the industries.
Drying up Khandadhara waterfall, a victim of iron ore mining in Khandadhar mountains
A rugged, tree-covered mountain range sweeps vertically into a brilliant blue sky. Out of a cave on its western side gushes a natural spring, its lacy, white water tripping 244 metres over a sheer black-and-red cliff face to fall into a blissful rock pool, before cascading further downhill. The site is of ethereal beauty, evoking awe, elation, a sense of rejuvenation.
One of India’s highest and most sacred waterfalls, Khandadhara in Sundergarh, Orissa, is cherished by tens of thousands for the life it brings to all in its vicinity. “It’s because of the Khandadhara that my life flows with power,” says a Munda resident of Bandhbarna village, which lies near the foot of the mountain. Although a migrant from Jharkhand, he shares the reverence of all the indigenous peoples here—including the Christians—for the Khandadhar mountain and its waterfall.
By common consent, the guardians of the range are the Pauri Bhuiya, a tribe of shifting cultivators who traditionally live in the dense sal forest that covers the peaks. Genetic research finds that about 24,000 years ago the Pauri Bhuiya shared a common ancestor with the Jarawa of the Andaman Islands—a reminder that India’s indigenous peoples directly descend from some of the first modern humans to wander the earth. The Pauri Bhuiya are also unique among Orissa’s tribals for speaking a version of Oriya, rather than an entirely different language: they claim theirs is the original Oriya.
A Pauri Bhuiya legend speaks of how their mountains came to be so munificent. The Sundergarh branch of the community was once possessed by a rapacious goddess named Kankala Devi, who consumed trees, soil and everything else. In despair, the Pauri Bhuiya placed her on a rock, which she ate through as well—creating a deep hole from which poured out the Khandadhara (split-rock waterfall). So they had water. Then a couple from the community went to visit relatives at the eastern, or Keonjhar, end of the Khandadhar mountain range. Their prospective hosts were away but a pile of grains had been left outdoors and, amazingly, not even the birds were eating it. Inside the heap, the couple discovered a small goddess, Khand Kumari, protector of the region’s prosperity. They stole her and brought her back to Sundergarh, and so her bounty became theirs.
The Pauri Bhuiya never cut down a shade or fruit tree, so the mountaintop abounds with nourishment. The pristine, ancient jungles are home to elephants, sloth bears, leopards, gaur, pythons, peacocks, tigers and a rare limbless lizard—a keystone species that testifies to the richness of the ecosystem. The thick jungle absorbs monsoon rain, releasing the water in perennial streams that feed the Khandadhara. But in the ’90s, some 80 Pauri Bhuiya families were shifted by the Pauri Bhuiya Development Agency (PBDA) from the mountaintop to the plains, under the pretext that their shifting cultivation was damaging the forest.
“Here we have nothing,” laments Kalia Dehuri, who now lives in a PBDA settlement. “Our houses are as small as latrines. They promised us five acres of land each but gave us just a little over one acre. When we lived in the forest, if I cut my leg I could find a plant to heal it. Now I have to walk miles in the sun to the doctor, who tells me to come back another day.” The despair and hopelessness is palpable. Of the families brought down, at least 15 have since returned to the mountain. “There it is cool,” says Dehuri, “and they have fruit, water, wood, tubers.”
Not for long. The strikingly coloured rocks that give Khandadhara its beauty are red jasper and black hematite—both made of iron. Downstream of Khandadhara, one can pick up massive, gleaming chunks of largely pure iron. The mining companies call the Khandadhar range the “jackpot”, and at this very moment the Supreme Court is deciding which of several contending firms has the winning ticket. The Orissa government has promised the Pohang Steel Co of South Korea (Posco) as much as 2,500 hectares of Khandadhar—essentially the entire Sundergarh section of the mountain range.
Red waste The Kurmitar mountain now
All the region’s tribals know what will happen if Posco comes, because they have had a foretaste. Deep inside the range, invisible from normal roads, rises a horrific sight: the blood-red carcass of Kurmitar mountain, flayed of its skin of trees and topsoil and terraced into a giant pyramid by a spiralling road for trucks laden with iron ore. Dynamite blasts have pulverised the underlying rock into a fine dust that gives the mine its brilliant red colour. Behind this Mars-scape, the partially shaved surface of another mountain rises—readied for mining by clear-cutting the trees. Dust smothers the jungle for hundreds of metres around, but in the distance one can see the undulating green of what remains, for now, of the Khandadhar reserved forest.
The Kalinga Commercial Corporation Ltd (KCCL) operates the 133-hectare Kurmitar mine. It boasts on its website of having exceeded production targets by several hundred per cent, and of exporting iron ore to China and manganese ore to an unnamed Korean company. Hanuman is said to have carried on his shoulders a portion of the Himalayas in order to find a medicinal plant to save Lakshman’s life. The Samal family of Bhubaneswar, which runs kcc, could be even more powerful: it is transporting an entire mountain to China and beyond.
Kurmitar was a “devisthan”, the abode of a goddess, say the Pauri Bhuiya. It was covered with dense jungle in which thrived elephants, bears and luscious kakri fruit hanging from vines. No doubt driven out by the blasting and loss of habitat, the elephants have begun emerging in the plains. A tigress appeared in January near Phuljhar, at the foot of the mountain. In April, the forest department burned down the huts and food stores of some 20 Pauri Bhuiya families who had come off the mountain and were sheltering in jungles that had been their own.
Just as frightening, the destruction of the forest and the diversion of a mountaintop stream by KCCL has caused the Khandadhara waterfall to partially dry up. Its water no longer reaches the Brahmani river as it used to, and a canal that Bandhbarna’s residents used for fishing, bathing and irrigating crops has been bone-dry for two summers now. All over the region, tubewells are becoming defunct as the water table falls. Streams by Phuljhar and other villages run red with mining dirt, killing fish and polluting fields. When it rains, even the Khandadhara bleeds red, transforming into a ‘raktadhara’ that flows from the mountain’s gaping wounds. If a 133-hectare mine can cause such havoc, the devastation to be wreaked by Posco’s 2,500-hectare lease is beyond imagination.
To begin with, the Khandadhara waterfall will completely dry up, depriving tens of thousands of the water of life. “The miners are demons…they not only eat the soil and trees and rock, but even the water,” says a Pauri Bhuiya woman in Phuljhar. “Kankala Devi gave us this water, these demons will consume it too. We have to get rid of them or they will eat up everything.” All around the Khandadhar range, the tribals are gearing up for a fight—not only for their own survival, but in defense of a common heritage of humankind.
Following report is from http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110922/jsp/orissa/story_14535693.jsp:
Bhubaneswar, Sept. 21: The Orissa State Pollution Control Board has asked 26 of the total 109 sponge units in the state to cut down production to reduce pollution levels in the sponge iron plants.
Sources said the units had been asked to scale down production for failing to stick to the bag filter size prescribed by the pollution control board on the recommendations of IIT, Kharagpur.
Bag filters are meant to filter the ash generated by burning of coal in these units to keep the environment clean.
The Orissa government is keen on reducing the pollution levels in sponge iron plants, which are considered among the most polluting industries in the world.
The units are located in Sundergarh, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Cuttack and Mayubrhanj districts.
This is not the first time the pollution control board has cracked its whip on the erring sponge units. In June, it had served showcause notices to 68 of these units. Six had also been shut down.
Member-secretary of the board Siddhant Das said the IIT, Kharagpur was commissioned to make a study on the pollution control requirements in the sponge iron plants in 2009 when the number of units in the state was 104. The organisation had recommended filter bag capacity for each unit, but some of them complied.
Since ash generation in these units had gone up owing to use of the poor quality coal, air quality in and around these plants was bound to be affected significantly unless the plants used filters of the required size as prescribed by the expert body.
Bulk of coal produced in Orissa was of F and G grade, which has high ash content. Sources said the ash generation was almost to the tune of 50 per cent, when this coal was used in the plants.
In June, showcause notices were issued to 68 sponge iron units for failing to meet the pollution control norms. “Forty two of these have since complied with the norms and enhanced the capacity of their bag filters,” said Das, adding that the board was keen to ensure that the remaining 26 also fell in line.
Orissa is one of the largest producers of sponge iron in the country with plants operating in six big clusters. As a consequence, it also bears the brunt of environmental pollution caused by this industry.
Following is from Dharitri (e-edition):
In a move that is tipped to give a big boost to solar power generation in the country in general and Orissa in particular, the Orissa government has urged the Union ministry of power to introduce a policy which makes it mandatory for all the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to generate solar power equivalent to one per cent of their proposed thermal power capacity.
“Orissa has got a number of investment proposals from the IPPs. We have requested the Union power ministry to come out with a policy which makes it mandatory for all the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to generate solar power equivalent to one per cent of their proposed thermal power capacity. Moreover, we have suggested that these IPPs can sell thermal as well as solar power in bundled form”, an official source told Business Standard.
The generation and consumption of solar power being an expensive proposition, many of the power producers are not keen on tapping this renewable energy source. As against the cost of Rs 4-4.5 crore per MW for setting up a thermal power plant, the cost of installation of a solar power plant is around Rs 18 crore per MW.
However, a policy measure which makes its mandatory on the part of the IPPs to commit one per cent of their proposed thermal capacity to solar power generation and the concept of selling both thermal and solar power in bundled form is expected to promote solar power in a big way.
It ma be noted that as many as 27 IPPs have entered into MoUs (Memoranda of Understanding) with the Orissa government for setting up coal-based power plants with a cumulative capacity of 32,420 MW.
Besides, there is a proposed capacity addition of 23000 MW through the setting up of an Ultra Mega Power Plant and also capacity expansion plans of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the state utility- Orissa Power Generation Corporation (OPGC).
Out of the 27 IPPs, Sterlite Energy has commissioned the first unit (600 MW) of its 2400 MW (4×600) power plant at Burkhamunda near Jharsuguda.
Power plants to come up at Thakurpur in Sonepur district, Manmunda in Boud district and Majhapada in Sundergarh district
Orissa has continued its growth momentum as a favourite destination for investors attracting investments worth Rs 98,929.49 crore in the April-June period of this fiscal. The most of these new investment proposals are in sectors like power, steel, cement, food processing and downstream industries.
The single largest investment proposal of Rs 45,000 crore has come from Strategic Energy Technology Systems Pvt Ltd for a coal to liquid project at Angul on May 12, 2010.
The bulk of the investments- Rs 33,569.25 crore has been proposed in the power sector with proposals for setting up of Independent Power Plants (IPPs) with a cumulative capacity of 7740 MW.
Ferro Alloys Corporation (FACOR) Power Limited has proposed to set up a 270 MW (2×135) coal-based thermal power plant at Haridaspur in Jajpur district. Similarly, KU Projects intends to set up a 1320 MW (2×660) power plant a Thakurpur in Sonepur district at an investment of Rs 7260 crore. This project has been cleared by the High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) of the state government.
Similarly, Shivani Thermal Power Station of Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) has proposed to set up a 1320 MW (2×660) power plant at Chhotapadagan in Cuttack district at a cost of Rs 7554.54 crore.
Visa Power has submitted a revised proposal to the state government owned Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa Ltd (Ipicol) to set up a 1320 MW (2×660) power plant at Brahmanabasta in Cuttack district, entailing an investment of Rs 6319.48 crore.
Shri Anant Infra Energy Pvt Limited has evinced interest to set up a 210 MW coal-based power plant at Garjan Bahal in Sundergarh district.
Responsive Industries Ltd has proposed to set up a 1320 MW (2×660) power plant at Manmunda in Boud district at a cost of Rs 6487.50 crore.
CLP Power India Pvt Ltd plans to set up a 1980 (3×660) MW power plant at Majhapada in Sundergarh district at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore.
Among the investment proposals in the cement sector, Kolkata-based Icore Super cement Ltd has proposed to set up a cement plant at Somnathpur in Balasore district at an investment of Rs 151 crore.
While Ramco Industries Limited has evinced interest to set up a 120,000 tonnes per annum asbestos fibre cement sheet plant at Jharsuguda at a cost of Rs 35 crore, Madras Cement intends to set up a 4000 tonne per day cement plant at Nandibera in Malkangiri district at a cost of Rs 750 crore.
Reliance Cementation Ltd has submitted proposal for a 2.8 million tonne per annum cement plant at Jallangbara in Sundergarh district at a cost of Rs 970 crore.
Similarly, Binani Cement plans to set up a one million tonne per annum clinker grinding unit at Dhamara in Bhadrak district at a cost of Rs 130 crore.
In the steel sector, Rashmi Metalliks Limited has proposed to set up a three million tonne per annum pelletisation plant and 44 m captive power plant at Baliarpur in Bhadrak district at an investment of Rs 3465 crore.
The Orissa Minerals Development Company Limited has evinced interest for a two million tonne per annum beneficiation and pelletisation plant at Dalki in Keonjhar district at a cost of Rs 889 .
Bhubaneswar, Aug 21 (IANS) Sterlite Energy Limited, a subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Saturday commissioned the first unit of its 2,400 MW independent power plant in Orissa.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the unit of 600 MW at Jharsuguda, 374 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, a senior official of the company told IANS.
The Vedanta group has invested about Rs.10,500 crore for this project that will be among the largest private initiatives in power sector in India, he said.
‘The coal-fired independent thermal power plant is the first of its kind in private sector in the state with its state of the art technology,’ he said.
The plant has employed many environment friendly features, including high contracted slurry disposal (HCSD) with very low consumption of water as compared to wet slurry system, the official said.
The independent power plant would be a zero effluent discharge plant with provision for water circulation and rain water harvesting, he said.
Coal, the raw material for the plant, will be sourced from near by IB Valley coalfield. Power produced from the plant’s first unit will be given to Orissa at a cheap rate, he said.
Dear honorable CM of Odisha,
It is reported in The Samaj that Jharsuguda will be the highest electrical power producing town of India: http://wp.me/pFC4h-Gu
Is this a good thing for Jharsuguda which has already high concentration of heavy industries? The western Orissa will be full of thermal powerplants as many are coming up at Birmaharajpur of Sonepur, Titlagarh of Balangir, one at Kalahandi and one at Sundergarh. The temp of western Orissa will increase many fold.
Titlagarh is known in the country for recording highest temperature during summer. Places like Titlagarh needs more non-polluting industries like solar power plants. I belive in such places the govt. should invest more on solar power units.
Also, putting all the industries in the western Orissa and establishing most of the HRD institutes in the coastal belt is not at all a good idea. It is surprising that various places of western Odisha like Balangir do not have any state govt. technical institutes viz. engg/medical college or central govt. instituts.
This needs to corrected.
Dr.Sanjib Kumar Karmee, PhD
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft,
Following report is from The Samaj:
Following report is from The Dharitri: