Jharsuguda NewsNEWS

Jharsuguda Ash Pond Breaches, Submerges Farmland

Jharsuguda: A major environmental disaster unfolded in Jharsuguda district on Saturday morning as the ash pond of OPGC Units 1 and 2 at Banharpali breached its embankment, releasing a torrent of ash-laden water into nearby agricultural fields. The spill, estimated to have submerged around 10 acres of land, has caused significant crop loss and sparked widespread fear of environmental pollution.

The incident occurred between 6 and 8 a.m., sending panic waves through the villages of Kantatikra and Sharadhapali. Locals reported that the ash pond had been leaking for several days, and despite their complaints to authorities, no corrective measures were taken.

Following the breach, OPGC launched a swift response, mobilising resources to control the flow of ash water and commence repair work on the embankment. A team is currently assessing the extent of the damage and the impact on the environment.

Tension prevails in the affected villages as residents grapple with the immediate consequences of the disaster and fear potential long-term environmental hazards. Local police are present at the site to maintain order and monitor the situation. Discussions are ongoing between OPGC representatives, the district administration, and local communities to address the concerns and ensure adequate compensation for the losses incurred.

From the Jharsuguda District Administration, Lakhanpur Tehsildar Sadakar Kumbhar reached the spot along with the OPGC officials and Brajrajnagar SDPO Chintamani Pradhan.

Lakhanpur Tehsildar Sadakar Kumbhar said, “As soon as I got the information, I sent all my revenue department staff to the spot, even I am present on the spot, we are assessing how much damages have been done and after assessing the total damage the compensation will be decided. We have asked OPGC to immediately close the breach so that no further damages will be done. Regarding the villagers, I discussed with the Jharsuguda District Collector, as the villagers are in fear, for today we are arranging food for the villagers and will initiate a discussion with them.”

Subrat Kumar Pradhan, a Local villager, “According to me this breach has slowly started from 3 am, and at 6 am the wall collapsed, now Sardhapalli Villagers have come up at the boundary, I would request the administration to hold a tri-party meeting and immediately take some action.”

Jharsuguda Regional Officer, Odisha State Pollution Control Board, Hiranya Kumar Nayak said, “The Breach has taken place on the Ash Pond ‘C’. Subsequently, a team from the Pollution Control Board will visit the spot to enquire about the incident and will submit the report to its Head Office.”

OPGC Spokesperson said, “An unfortunate incident has occurred at one of the ash pond ‘C’ of Unit 1 & Unit 2 near the Sardhapalli village. Due to the continuous rain in the last two or three days, one side of the soil bond had weakened, due to which water had overflowed from the pond which resulted in the breach, However, we are working on a war footing basis to immediately seal this breach. Simultaneously, Jharsuguda District Administration officials have reached the spot and initiated a meeting with the local villagers which is ongoing. The Assessment of crop damages will be done jointly with the District Administration officials and whatever compensation decided by the administration will be paid to the beneficiaries.”

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