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Ash Pond Breach: People Rise In Protest against Vedanta

Two days after the breach in one of the ash ponds of Jharsuguda-based Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) triggered water pollution in plant-side Katikela village, locals rose in angry protest demonstrating in front of the plant gate and lodged an FIR against the VAL authorities accusing them of playing with people’s lives.

The ash pond cave-in had triggered flood-like situation damaging the standing croplands. The local residents were panicked a lot and had fled the village fearing the ash pond slurry inundating their houses.

Tension had mounted up in the area as people picketed in front of the VAL disrupting the day-to-day operation of the aluminium plant. Situation has however been brought under control following adequate police deployment. No untoward incident has been reported so far and the picketing is also peaceful in nature, police officials said.

An FIR was lodged by the agitating villagers. We are examining the merits of the complaint. The opinion of state pollution control board officials has been sought in this regard, they added.

State pollution control board officials said “The VAL has been issued notice under pollution control act. The Val authorities have repaired the ash ponds and slurry discharge into the village areas has been stopped since past 48 hours. The SPCB personnel made an on-the-spot assessment of the situation”.

The company is committed to restore the slurry-affected croplands. The affected farmers would be duly compensated. The ash pond breach was an accident. The company has initiated appropriate steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents, said J.K. Mohanty, the senior vice president of VAL. 

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