Villagers protest pollution from paper mill

A large number of villagers from the Dakala block here protested in front the office of state pollution control board today alleging health hazards due to fly ash deposits from a nearby paper mill.

Residents of over 12 villages staged a dharna here in front of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) office complaining about fly ash getting deposited all around their houses and fields and people have to spend hours to clean the tiny black-coloured particles everyday.

Health hazard

“Besides affecting the vegetation growth across the affected villages, the ash has become one of the major health hazards as it is affecting health of people too,” a protester said.

They claim the ash deposits are harmful for the residents of the villages including Khera, Khera Jatan, Saphera, Ramgarh, Kalar Bheni, Ravaas, Jalal Kherr, Main, Sawarajpur, Jhandi and Saphera.

Balwinder Singh, a resident of Khera village, said the problem has been usually severe in morning hours as mill authorities discharge ash on a large scale through big chimneys late at night.

Another villager Rani Kaur from village Kalar Bheni said school-going children often complain about eye irritation due to the fly ash.

Requests ignored

Village head of Bhaini village, Harpreet Singh claimed they have repeatedly requested authorities but nothing has been done about the problem so far.

Meanwhile, Chief Engineer, PPCB, Patiala, Pawan Kumar Garg said a notice has been issued to the mill and they have been asked to check their equipment and rectify the problem.

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