Tribal farmers left high and dry as Imfa plant authorities silent on dust problem

Rayagada, Sep 24: Farmers of Therubali in Rayagada district have alleged that the dust released from the Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Limited (Imfa) factory at Therubali in Rayagada district has been nightmare for them as it destroys acres of crop.

The farmers of Burujuguda village, which is near Imfa factory, said that the chemical-mixed dust which comes out of the chimney falls on farmland of which crops farmed in acres of land are being destroyed every year and this year is no exception.

In the last few years, the dust from the Imfa factory has caused sleepless nights for the farmers. The dust coming out of the factory comes directly to the farmland affecting it badly.

The farmers mentioned that even if they use best quality fertilizer and pesticides in the land, there is no visible production. The land productivity is declining day by day, and water level is also declining.

The farmers further said that as there is water in the land now the dust will not be visible and after the water level decreases the dust will be visible on the farmland precisely.

If three farmers in the village are taken as a examples, it will be clear how the dust from the Imfa is creating a mountain of problems.

A farmer, Kameswar Hikka, every year cultivates paddy on his two acres of land, from where the Imfa chimney is visible. Chemical-mixed dust from the chimney and falls to the farmland and destroys the produce. Only the dust has reduced the crop yields, Kameswar said.

Farmers in the villages around the Imfa factory are cultivating paddy, cotton, kandula and mandia. The villagers near the factory have alleged that the company is harassing them instead of providing assistance.

“Even though we are affected badly, the government and the district administration have turned a deaf ear to our woes,” the farmers further alleged.

Despite repeated appeals to the Imfa and the agriculture department, the problems are yet to be resolved. Most importantly, the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) is also not investigating into the matter for which hundreds of farmers in various villages around Imfa are allegedly facing problems.

On being contacted, Chief District Agriculture Officer (CDAO) Nandkishore Singh said, “The block agriculture officer would be sent to the area to investigate. I will inform the higher authorities after the investigation is over”.

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