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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Gujarat: Noxious smell forces villagers out of homes in Morbi, GPCB officials find toxic effluent

Officials of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) rushed to the village and confirmed that the fumes were from the toxic industrial effluent dumped illegally by someone on the edge of GIDC in the village and controlled it by bleaching.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
September 8, 2021 4:24:44 am
Residents of Chhattar village who rushed out of their homes due to the smell that emanated in the area. (Express photo)

RESIDENTS OF Chhattar village in Tankara taluka of Morbi district ran out of their homes at around 11 pm on Monday after noxious smell emanated in the area, fearing it could be a gas leak. Officials of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) rushed to the village and confirmed that the fumes were from the toxic industrial effluent dumped illegally by someone on the edge of GIDC in the village and controlled it by bleaching.

GPCB officials also informed police who reached the spot.  “We smelt odour of pesticide and found traces of effluent discharged on the edge of the GIDC in Chhatar on the side of the highway. We suspect that someone might have tried to dump industrial effluent illegally but might have fled after villagers started rushing out of the village,” said Krishnakumar Vaghela, regional officer (RO) of GPCB in Morbi, told The Indian Express.

Vaghela said that the amount of effluent dumped in Chhattar village was not much. “We suspect it to be effluent from a pesticide plant or a pharmaceutical unit. We have collected samples and sent it to our laboratory in Gandhinagar for analysis and fingerprinting,” Vaghela added.

The GPCB RO said that his team contained the noxious smell by spraying lime over the effluent. “The villagers apprehended that gas might have leaked from a gas pipeline that passes by the village. But we assured them that that was not the case… After the smell was controlled, with the help of police we persuaded the villagers to return to their homes,” said Vaghela. On an application by GPCB, a non-cognisable offence has been registered against unknown person at Tankara police station. “We have requested the superintendent of police of Morbi to check footage of CCTV cameras on the highway and roads leading to Chhattar village,” said the RO.

There are no registered chemical processing factories in Morbi that generate such hazardous waste, said Vaghela, adding, “We suspect the culprits can be from any unauthorised factory in Morbi or some pharma or pesticide factory in Rajkot.”

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