Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Most industries drawing water ‘unauthorisedly'

Most industries drawing water ‘unauthorisedly'


Of the 239 industries, 121 units found to be sourcing water illegally

The State government may be pursuing fast industrialisation for optimum utilisation of natural resources. But, on ground it seems to be altogether a different situation. More than half of the industries are found drawing water ‘unauthorisedly'.

Responding to a series of RTI applications, different circles of water resources department furnished information about water drawal by 239 industries from different sources – groundwater, river and reservoirs. Of these, 121 units were found to be sourcing water unauthorisedly.

Under Panposh subdivision in Sundargarh district, the unauthorised water use is highest among all the divisions. Of the 78 industrial units drawing water from different sources, 60 are found to be violating the norms. Water Resource Department sought police action against only four violators.

The violation is somewhat similar in Sundargarh Irrigation Division, where 44 industries have been drawing water from rivers such as Ib, Satei, Nakti Nulah, and Brahmani Nulah. However, the division has found 28 industrial units indulged in unauthorised drawal of water. FIRs have been lodged against eight units in different police stations. In Bonai division under the same district, 14 industrial and mining units were drawing water unauthorisedly.

In Keonjhar district, where people have been consistently complaining of falling of water table due to intensive mining, 11 out of 14 mines have been taking water illegally. However, the Water Resource Department allegedly never bothered to file a complaint with police.


Perhaps due to a series of public agitations and media focus on use of water from Hirakud reservoir, at present unauthorised drawal of water by industries is found to be nil. However, the Main Dam Division, Burla said public sector coal major Mahanadi Coalfields Limited had been fined Rs. 54.32 lakh for illegal water drawal from February 1 and June 30 this year. Another coal mine operator, Global Coal and Mines Private Limited, was accused of illegally drawing water for a period of more than three years from January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2011.

The Berhampur Irrigation Division, however, said Jayashree Chemicals Limited had challenged the notification regarding collection of industrial water tax. The company was drawing water by constructing intake in their own land within 30 metre of the left bank of River Rushikulya prior to 1994.

“In a similar Indian Rare Earths Limited near Chhatrapur is consuming 1,14,862 tonne litre per month. The company is not paying any water tax to this division and is reluctant to enter into fresh agreement,” the Berhampur Irrigation Division said in the reply.

During past few years, several public agitations have been built up protesting against drawal of water by industries.

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