Industries in Samba are flouting environmental guidelines and openly dumping their waste in Basantar river. Locals are concerned and are anxious over irresponsible pollution of water bodies. A number of chemical and pesticide factories are there in the area which are polluting these water bodies. According to The Tribune the industrial area comprises nearly 250 industries and majority of them are manufacturing hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
According to locals, “The growing number of industries in the area could be seen as a positive development, but it has an adverse effect on the environment as untreated effluents are being discharged into rivers and other water bodies”
Rahul Kumar, a resident of Chak Manga Rakwal alleges,
“Without any fear of law, these industries dump their waste in the Basantar river, which was once considered the lifeline of Samba town. “These industries are polluting the air and water in the area. The Basantar river is dying because waste material is being discharged into it,”
Another farmer, Swarn Singh from Burj Tanda village laments that Basantar, has traditionally been used for agricultural purposes and for feeding domestic animals. Now since the water is polluted, it is causing severe health issues. He says,
“Stomach, eye, skin and respiratory issues are common among the residents of the area. There has also been an increase in the number of tumour and cancer cases. The soil in this part of the region is rapidly growing infertile and animals are dying because of the polluted water”
People allege that industries are resorting to corrupt practices to save their skin and avoid penalty. It is alleged that industrial units don’t have water treatment plants installed and they are disposing their hazardous discharge into water bodies without any treatment. These practices have even contaminated groundwater.
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When contacted, AV Jandial, district officer of the State Pollution Control Board seems clueless. He says,
“We do not have any information regarding such complaints. We appeal to the residents to send us their complaints, so that action can be initiated. As per my knowledge, there has been no lapse on our part in controlling pollution”