KOLKATA, 16 DEC.: Representatives of more than 16 environment and forest rights NGOs submitted a deputation with the chairman of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board alleging that the board has failed to implement its own laws against the highly polluting sponge iron units in Durgapur, Bankura, Purulia and Jhragram regions.
The conglomeration also staged a demonstration in front of the WBPCB and handed out leaflets to the pedestrians. The deputation submitted with the chairman of the WBPCB, Prof PN Roy, reads 14 charges against the board leveled by the environmentalists.
The environmentalists said that since December 2009, the state pollution control board has taken a number of decisions contemplating action and has passed orders to stop pollution. None of the orders have been effective. Fines have been collected from the errant sponge iron units as punishment for polluting the environment but the villagers who have been affected due to this have not been compensated for loss of crop or traditional livelihood, they alleged.
It should be noted that the highly polluting units have reportedly been discharging untreated waste into the open affecting the crops and polluting the water bodies on which farmers and their cattle depend.
Mr Naba Dutta, general secretary of Nagarik Mancha, said that the officials of the WBPCB on 7 April had assured that action would be taken against the units. On 28 July, they held a consultation meeting. “It has been months since the officials promised us that action would be taken against the polluting units. We are not telling them to break the law. We just want them to implement the laws that already exist,” he added.