President of Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG), a farmer’s body, Jayesh Patel, has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting interim relief of Rs 1 lakh per hectare for around 50,000 farmers in Bharuch over crop loss due to the release of Chemical Phenoxy compounds in the air by chemical industries in the district.
In the letter, a copy of which is with Indian Express, Patel said, “ The Dahej Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region, GIDC of Dahej and Vilayat has highly hazardous mega chemical production companies in the district, mostly producing pesticides, pharmaceuticals petrochemicals, chemicals, metals, power plant chemicals in huge amounts. The non-compliance of various environmental safeguards, violation of air Act and non-measurement of the toxic chemicals present in the air have harmed the local environment severely. The release release of certain chemical phenoxy compounds has caused a loss of agricultural crops in the entire Bharuch. Mostly cotton and pigeon pea crops in 70,000 hectares has been affected and farmers have been forced to destroy the deformed crops.”
“The affected area of plantation of cotton is around 70,000 hectares and approx. 50,000 farmers have lost almost all the crops from such a big area in Bharuch and Vadodara region. (Vagra, Amod, Bharuch, Jambusar, Karjan Talukas are worst affected),” he added.
The report of the Bharuch District Agricultural Officer to the district collector and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) with diagnosis team of Agricultural Universities were attached with the letter.
According to KSG, the report clearly says the release of phenoxy compounds like 2,4 D and 2, 4 D-B present in the air are responsible for the present problem. There is no mechanism available with GPC8 to measure such chemicals and pollutants in the air, so diagnosis team member GPCB has refused to sign the report.
Patel added, “Closure notices should be immediately served to all manufacturing units releasing such toxic substances. Crop damage assessment in Vagra, Amod, Bharuch, Jambusar, Karjan Talukas should be started immediately by District Collector and interim compensation should be given to compensate the losses of farmers. We demand that Rs 1 lakh per hectare as an interim relief to the farmers who have lost their crops.”