Cement dust causing ailments galore in Thondebavi
It has affected several villages in the radius of eight kilometres
Cement dust has caused allergy and is a constant health hazard, dust settles down everywhere inside the nearby houses. Even if one goes outside the house by the time one returns the body is covered with dust.
The cause of this dust pollution is the Rs 350-crore ACC cement manufacturing unit at Thondebavi. This unit is a part of a larger expansion project implemented by ACC in Karnataka.
The Thondebavi plant has a 1.60 mtpa grinding capacity and produces fly-ash based portland pozzolana cement. Clinker required for the plant comes from ACC’s Wadi plant in Gulbarga district by rail.
There is a rule that factories should be set up 10 to 15 km away from residential area. But ACC has set up its cement unit in a residential area and close to the railway station, residents complained.
Shop-keepers complain that cement dust settles on the items kept inside the shop and has to be frequently dusted.
Sunita, who works in the Nemmadi Kendra, where various certificates required by the people, says that due to the cement dust the computers frequently break down.
The residents living around the Thondebavi railway station are unanimous in their opinion that they do not want the cement factory in the vicinity.
“We want health, not factory”, they say. They point out at the plants, the leaves of which have become grey due to the dust settled on them and the roof tops whose red tiles have become grey. They also point out at the railway canteen which closed down due to dust pollution.
Children are suffering from various ailments including loss of hearing, asthma and chest pain. The doctors have diagnosed that they ailments have been caused by dust allergy. They say that they cannot afford to spend money on treatment every month.
The cement factory has not helped the local people in terms of employment. We have submitted a memorandum to the Union Minister in this regard, but he has not taken any action.
The cement dust from the factory is affecting several villages in a radius of eight kilometres. Lands of some farmers has become barren and infertile due to the dust settled in their fields. Nothing grows in these fields.
Attendence at the Swami Shivanand Sevashram, which is located near the railway station is declining.
The question asked by the people is - how did the Government permit the setting up of a factory in a residential area.