Ryots demand closure of Gemini Distillery

Polluted environment makes lives miserable

Ryots demand closure of Gemini Distillery

Claiming that the Gemini Distillery located on the Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar road was causing irreversible contamination to underground water, Geekahalli grama panchayat ex-member M Krishna alleged that the authorities concerned have turned a blind-eye towards their problem.

Addressing a press meet here on Monday, he said the factory, which was established 28 years ago, had polluted the environment in every possible way. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board had even given a report acknowledging the pollution caused by the factory and the then Lokayukta Venkatachala had visited the spot in 2001.

He had directed the distillery, responsible for crop loss for 32 farmers, to provide a compensation of Rs 66,75,800 for the victims. The factory had brought a stay order from the High Court and agreed to pay 65 per cent of the said amount, but even that has not yet been paid, they alleged.

Farmer M D Mahadevu said: “The contaminated water was making lives of both humans beings and animals miserable. The water is not suitable for agricultural activities, forget about drinking.” Explaining the related problems he said, banks were not issuing loans to farmers citing that the water was unfit for agriculture.

He said the deputy commissioner and other officials had turned a deaf ear to their problems. Elaborating on health problems that have started showing up among residents of Geekahalli, he said the contaminated water and the foul smell was giving headaches, causing jaundice and other diseases.

Urging for the closure of the factory, to conserve underground water and safeguard environment, he said the authorities were tight-lipped about the distillery’s exploitation of natural resources and unfair treatment it had meted out to farmers.

The farmers said they would stage a protest along with their family members in front of the deputy commissioner’s office and residences of MLA V Srinivas Prasad and MP R Dhruvanarayan, if nothing was done to alleviate their sufferings.

Farmers Shivamallegowda, M Shivanna and Mahadev were present.

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