Shimsha polluted; 20 Mandya villages face health hazard

Shimsha polluted; 20 Mandya villages face health hazard

A view of polluted Shimsha river in Maddur taluk.

More than 20 villages and around 30,000 people in the district face health hazards after effluents from an exploded boiler of a sugar factory drained into River Shimsha.

Around 80 lakh litres of potassium-laced water spilled over to farm lands and drained into River Shimsha after the boiler at the distillery of NSL Sugar Factory, Koppa village, in Maddur taluk, exploded on November 20. Paddy, ragi and sugarcane crops on nearby lands have already been destroyed. It is feared that the chemical may also pollute the ground aquifer. As Shimsha flows through Kokkarebellur bird sanctuary, the birds might also be affected.

Shimsha joins River Cauvery River near Shivanasamudra. The same water flows to Bengaluru, after passing through a treatment unit at TK Halli in Malavalli taluk. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board officials are camping here and the water samples are being sent for testing in laboratories.

The chemical waste collected in the plant and disposed of once in a year. It was supposed to be treated in December.

KSPCB district officer Savitha said the chemical-laced water, which had spilled on the lands has now flowed up to Iggaluru dam. The water samples have been sent for testing and the people have been warned not to use the river water.

As there are complaints of breathing problem, cold, cough and allergy among the farmers working on the fields, a temporary hospital has been opened at Chikkenahalli. Minor Irrigation Minister C S Puttaraju said the factory was providing compensation to the affected farmers. They will be paid Rs 1.5 lakh per acre of sugarcane, Rs 70,000 for paddy and Rs 60,000 for ragi. A probe is underway and suitable action would be taken against the factory management, he said.