Who’ll save Bandipora from HCC disaster?

Company Gives Damn To Environment Protection: Locals



Bandipora, May 20: In this prized north Kashmir district, anger just seems to be simmering among locals in the wake of “environmental disaster” which the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) is allegedly engineering in the garb of constructing the 330 MW Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project.
 A cursory look at the Bandipora valley, known the world-over for housing Asia’s largest fresh water lake—the Wullar Lake—apart from the prized Gurez Valley—indicates the level of damage that the Company has caused to its environment. Dust seems to have consumed areas like Pazalpora and Kralpora, where locals are trying to “flee due to the damage caused by the HCC.”
 According to locals, the Company has been dumping debris and muck at different sites near Chandaji Forest—something which has caused a blanket of dust over its adjoining areas.
 “Our own leaders and politicians, who have been promising us environment protection at any cost, have failed us. Bandipora is a live example of the same. We have been crying hoarse over the environment deterioration due to improper dumping of waste and muck by the HCC. But nobody is listening to us,” said Ghulam Qadir, a resident of Pazalpora.
 The same concern is voiced by people across the length and breadth of this district. “The Government seems to be forcing us to move out of Bandipora. But where shall we go? We have been living here for decades together,” said Abdul Aziz, a shopkeeper at Kralpora. “If a team of environmentalists come to Bandipora for assessment, they will find that the district has lost its glory. Today it is only dust, muck and waste that is visible in Bandipora. That is because the Government is unable to hold the HCC accountable over waste dumping.”
 According to environmentalists, improper and unscientific dumping of muck and waste can lead to an environmental disaster. “Anywhere in the world, you would see proper waste dumping by construction companies. But that is not the case with Bandipora where HCC is dumping muck in forest areas, thus polluting the famous Bonar Nallah,” Ghulam Qadir said. “The pollutants from the various units of the Company are drained into the Bonar Nallah which in turn pollutes Madhumati and Zaingair canal. This is one day going to be a huge health disaster.”
 The locals want the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to immediately intervene. “We want to live happily and with good health. The Government has to ensure that by saving Bandipora from the environmental disaster due to Kishanganga. The HCC must be directed to dump the waste properly,” said Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Bandipora town.
 Pertinently, no HCC official, stationed in Bandipora, is ready to talk on the issue. “We are not mandated to talk to press,” said a HCC official,when asked why the Company was not taking care of environment while executing the Kishenganga Project.
 Pertinently in January this year, the State Pollution Control Board took cognizance of the reports appearing in Greater Kashmir about the pollution caused by the construction work of Kishanganga Power Project, being undertaken by HCC in Bandipora.
 The SPCB asked the HCC to construct sedimentation tanks at the spots within 20 day, saying the Bonar Nallah is not only a source of water for residents living downstream at Pazalpora, Kralpora and other villages, but its water is used for growing paddy in the nearby areas. “So the Nallah irrigates thousands of kanals of paddy land and is abounds with Trout fish and requires to be protected,” the SPCB said in a statement.
 But, according to locals, the Company didn’t act on the recommendations.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 May 2012 00:00:00 IST

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