Environmental degradation in Kurnool Tungabhadra water is getting polluted day by day

E. Thandrapadu, Bhairapur and surrounding villages in Kurnool has been under constant threat of water, air and soil pollution, thanks to rampant industrialization. A study conducted by Prabhavathi K, Ramana C. V and Rami Reddy N of S. B. S. Y. Degree College, Kurnool, in 2015, revealed that due to discharge of untreated sewage into the Tungabhadra, the water quality of the river has deteriorated and the potable nature of water is lost.

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E. Thandrapadu village, located within a kilometre from the river, is the one that suffers the most. Sree Rayalaseema Alkalies and Allied Chemicals Ltd, a chemical factory located in the village, owned by Rajyasabha M.P, T.G. Venkatesh is allegedly the main cause of water and land pollution in the area. The chemical effluents, such as Magnesium, Chlorine, Sulphuric acid, and other fluorine compounds released by the factory into the river, create grave problems to the village, residents said.

Agriculture is affected in this village, where major occupation of the people is farming. Apart from that, skin diseases are also prevalent due to bathing in contaminated water, residents said. To add to the misery, the nearest hospital is 10 km away from the village, in Kurnool town.

K. Hussain, a resident of the village accused T.G. Venkatesh, for the problems of the village. “That factory is the main reason for all the problems in this village. When someone complaints, they send him back with compensation. If labourers in the factory say anything bad about it, factory authorities will make sure that their jobs are lost.”

Nearby villages, Bhairapur and Panchalingalu are also suffering the same fate, allegedly because of the chemical industry. Boya Valmik Narayana, who had woked as Deputy Panchayat President in Bhairapur talked anxiously about the pitiable condition of agriculture in the village.

“Agriculture is in a very sad state. Soil here is very porous, so water doesn’t stay much. Moreover, the water available is highly salty because of the alkali factory. We dug deeper bore wells, yet the water we got had high salt content, making it unfavourable for agriculture.”

Cotton, tobacco, maize and jowar are the major crops grown in Bhairapur. Villagers are now heavily dependent on rain water for irrigation. However, drought was severe this year, which aggravated the miseries of farmers.

K.Baleshwariyaa, who owns three acres of tobacco plantation said, “I tried drip irrigation, still the roots of plants got dried because of the fluoride water. T.G. Venkatesh supplied water to Thandrapadu village through lift irrigation. But our village is still discriminated because this is a part of Telengana, while Thandrapadu is in AP.”

S.Ramanna, husband of the Panchayat President Monicca Ramanna said that a water purifier was installed in the village, after a government official came and tested the water samples and found out excessive fluorine in tap water.

There were several news reports in the last five years bringing in to light the pollution of Tungabhadra river, and most of them were pointing at the TGV group. However, the group argued that the sewage and waste flowing from the city with a population of six lakh could be the possible reason for the rise in pollution. The company also claimed to have full-fledged effluent treatment/recycling system and all the clearances from relevant ministries.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/river-pollution-puts-kurnool-residents-on-edge/article5576168.ece

In fact, the Pollution control board gave clean chit to the industries in 2014 by blaming it on the decomposed algae and the great amount of sewage flow from residential areas in Kurnool city in to the river.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/tungabhadra-river-pollution-clean-chit-to-industries/article5680511.ece

When asked about the water quality index in Kurnool and surrounding areas, the Pollution Control Board officials refused to comment, two weeks ago.

Bhairapur’s problems don’t end just with the water pollution. A bypass runs through the village, by which vehicles can get to Kurnool city avoiding the toll booth, leads to heavy traffic, especially of larger vehicles, and thereby polluting the air. Lorries that carry sand mined from Tungabhadra river, also pass through the village, filling the air with dust and other suspended particles. People who live near the roadside are having respiratory problems, breathing this air.

Lack of enough environmental awareness programmes make people throw plastic wastes in open areas. Cleaning of surroundings also doesn’t happen very often as MGNREGA is ineffective, residents said.

“NREGA workers get just Rs.30 to Rs.60 per day as middle men take the lion’s share of wages. If the situation continues like this, even if P.M. comes to this village, there won’t be an escape,” Ramaswamy, a resident of Bhairapur said.

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