October 5, 2021 2:27:40 am
The lignite mines of Badi-Hoidad village at Bhavnagar in Gujarat are once again in the news as local villagers and environmentalists have reported that the mining waste dumpsite has sunk by 30 feet, contaminating the pastoral lands nearby and the Maleshree river flowing in close vicinity.
The Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), along with 12 Gam Khedut Sangharsh Samiti of Badi Padva villages, has written to the Gujarat government and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) informing them of the changes in the region. “The mining waste hillock, estimated to be around 150 m in length, is sinking rapidly in the ground, a phenomenon that needs immediate expert assessment and investigation,” the letter stated after both the samitis visited the site on October 1.
“The illegal mining waste, flowing from the mining waste hillock, is contaminating the Maleshree river,” the letter further said, adding the waste has not only contaminated the river but is seeping into the ground and has also got washed over the pastoral land, rendering it useless.
The organisations have sought a drone survey of the region and have asked the government to stop the illegal dumping of mining waste at the current site. In January, The Indian Express had reported that GPCB had issued a show-cause notice to the Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd (GPCL), a state-run unit that operates the lignite mine, for lack of an effluent treatment plant and sewerage treatment plant. GPCL was also accused of running a coal crushing operation without talking the formal permission.
“Of the 12-odd affected villages, a few are located between the lignite mines and a power plant operated by another state-run unit–the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd– in the same area. These villages are also struggling with air pollution from these mines,” said PSS’s Rohit Prajapati.
GPCB officials said they would be visiting the site to take stock of the situation. In November 2020, the region near the lignite mines saw an unusual phenomenon where massive patches of land got elevated near Hoidad village.
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