Byndoor: Kudrukodu locals protest against gravel-tar mixing unit

Silvester D'Souza

Daijiworld Media Network - Byndoor (MS)

Byndoor, Dec 13: Locals living in Kudrukodu at the border of Navunda - Herooru near here staged a protest on Wednesday December 12 against the functioning of gravel-tar mixing unit of IRB company, which has got the contract for highway work.

The locals are saying that due to the crushing of the gravel and mixing of gravel powder and tar the environment is getting polluted, which in turn is affecting the health of local residents. Moreover, the gravel powder gets mixed with water and flows into the agricultural land. In addition, the vibrating sound of the machine is causing the walls and roofs of houses to crack.

The media people who visited the site of protest were greeted by the mountain like stack of gravel and its powder. There were faint cracks on the walls and slab of the roof of the house of Mookambika Devadiga, alleged to have happened due to the vibration of the machine in the mixing unit, which is at a distance of 250 meter from the house. In addition, there is thick layer of gravel powder on the leaves of the plants and also on the land that belongs to a person called Mette Govind Kharvi.

Nagendra Devadiga, who is leading the protest said, "All the ill-effects on the enviroment that is seen in the vicinity is the result of the work that is going on for the past four years. Two labourers of the mixing unit have died because of illness induced due to the work hazard. Among the local residents Mookambika Devadiga (65), Ganesh Devadiga (42), Naga (80), Chandamma Shedthi (70), Jairam (52), Sita (50), Jalaja (52), Adarsh (14), Kushtappa Shetty (70), Vanaja (65), Ravi Shetty (62), Arya (4), Rama G Kharvi (40), Girija (50), Chandravati (30), Sheshamma (70), Sadhamma (70) and Narayana Shetty (75) are suffering from various ailments including Asthma.

The coconut, areacnut and pepper crop near the mixing unit is affected. The well water of Rama Govind Kharvi is contaminated with gravel powder. We urge the immediate closure of the unit and the company has to give compensation for the loss incurred by locals on their health and property."

Nagendra also showed the copies of the complaint regarding the unit appraised by the locals to various government departments and the contractor including the Navunda gram panchayat and the deputy commissioner. The locals called off their protest as no concerned official reported to the spot of protest.

Nagendra informed that they will hold a huge protest once more after informing about the same to all the concerned officials. Byndoor SI Timmesh B N and personnel were present on the spot and took safety measures.

N Narasimha Devadiga, president of gram panchayat and Prakash Devadiga, ward member, who visited the spot of protest said, "The panchayat has ignored the public complaint and has given permission for the company to run hot mix, wet mix, ready mix and concrete plants since three years. However, the NOC given for the electrical power connection is being cancelled from this year. Even the lease of the land taken by the company is over, but the unit is still functioning. The decision of the panchayat is conveyed to the deputy commissioner as well as MESCOM officials."

Project director of IRB company, which is running the unit in question said, "The accusations against the company made by the public are exaggerated. We have got permission from the district administration based on the No Objection Certificate (NOC) provided by the department of Environment Conservation and local administration. Two years ago the local people complained that the road is damaged due to the plying of vehicles of IRB company. The company asphalted the road at a cost of Rs 25 lac. Now we have stopped the crushing of gravel in this unit and just storing the gravel and powder that is brought from Murdeshwar. The highway extension work between Kundapur - Shiroor will get over within a few months. The mixing unit will be shifted to some other area once the work is done. The gravel powder that is spread on the private land will be cleared."