Water Initiative Odisha (WIO) has accused the state pollution control board (PCB) of not taking proper action against Hindalco in spite of being well aware about the company’s faulty ash management.
“The PCB was aware of it since 2010, but instead of initiating any action against the company, the board washed its hands of the matter by serving a show cause notice to the company. Even that was a mere eye wash,” WIO convenor Ranjan Panda said during a press conference on Monday.
“Had the pollution control board taken the issue seriously in 2010, the incident of breaches in Hindalco’s ash pond could have been averted,” Panda said. He asked the board to forfeit the Rs 2-crore bank guarantee of the plant made against a declaration of not violating pollution norms.
Panda and environment lawyer of Orissa high court Bibhu Prasad Tripathy went to Hirakud on Monday to take stock of the situation. “If the state pollution control board is really serious about controlling pollution, it should have found out the faults in the ash pond design during regular monitoring. Such huge breaches don’t happen accidentally,” Panda alleged. Tripathy said the incident has become a major policy issue in the state.