The issue of air and water pollution caused by tonnes of ash generated from thermal power plants in Sonbhadra did not find a mention in the UP polls campaigning despite the residents seeking a solution for it. The final and seventh phase of the high-pitched campaigning saw various issues ranging from local to national relevance being tossed up before the voters, however the ever deteriorating quality of air and water in the area was apparently missing from the political parties’ manifestos.
Pradushan Mukti Vahini, a social organisation working for the past two years to raise awareness among the locals, claimed that they had met a number of political parties to include these issues in their election manifestos but unfortunately none of the leaders bothered to raise them.
Its convener Rameshwar Prasad said, “In January-February, 38 village pradhans sent a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister drawing his attention towards the pollution of air and water, but, we are still waiting for his response”.
Jagat Narayan Vishwakarma, who had moved the National Green Tribunal in 2014 over the issue, said that because of the continuous depletion of quality of air and water, the general health of the local population has also seen a decline.
“For generation of thermal power in the region, 3.26 lakh tonne of coal is ignited every day. But out of this, nearly 40 per cent is reduced to ashes and it floats in the air of Sonbhadra, thereby polluting it. Most of the power projects here are operating for the last 20 years,” Vishwakarma said.
There are four thermal power plants in the area which use coal for power generation.
He also said that the existing ash dumps are already full, and no fresh dumping space has been created.
“Because of this, the ash gets flown into Rihand reservoir, while the ash generated from Obra power project is polluting the Renuka river,” he added.