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Battling water pollution for 20 yrs

Chethan Kumar, Byramangala (Ramanagara Dist), Jan 6, 2013, DHNS: 0:29 IST
Water pollution is a problem the residents of villages under Byramangala Gram Panchayat have been struggling to deal for more than two decades.

The river, channel and the underground water lines in the 20-odd villages are all contaminated by chemical and other waste. The channel has not been desilted for about a decade. Worse, the people have to deal with the utter apathy of the authorities concerned, says Kumar, a GP employee.

The farmers complain of the condition of their fields. The 17,000 acres of agricultural land in the villages are losing value. Also, the crops are affected by the pollutants. “Breeding cattle is a huge challenge as we have to keep a constant eye on them, lest they fall ill drinking water from the channel or the river,” said Rangaiah, a farmer from TB Doddi.

The problem can be alleviated at least a little if the authorities desilt the channel, Moodala Giriappa, former GP member, said. “One can easily notice the difference in the quality of the water available in the villages situated along the 11-mile channel, but away from the river and these factories. If the channel were to desilted, our villages would have got at least a little better, if not altogether potable, water.”

Vaman Acharya, chairperson, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), told Deccan Herald: “A regular complaint is of the industries in the area dumping chemical waste and releasing pollutants into the water. While this is a punishable offence, unfortunately, the government authorities in-charge have shown little regard in dealing with the problem of untreated sewage being let into the water bodies.”

He said that the KSPCB had suggested several measures to prevent pollution of the Vrushabhavathi river, which flows through these villages, and also other rivers in the State. “The municipal authorities, including the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, are barely interested. Water supply is merely revenue generation for them and they are doing well enough. Sewage treatment is an obligation, and they will not take it seriously.”

The KSPCB will investigate into the dumping of untreated waste into water bodies by factories and take necessary action, said Acharya.

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