ABOUT 157 villages in Shahdol district
of Madhya Pradesh are situated on
the banks of the Sone river. But life
for the villagers has become a constant
struggle, as they are deprived of
potable water. Sone, which is the
only source of water for these villagers
has been poisoned and their fertile
land has been converted into barren
The reason for this is the sludge being discharged into the river by Orient Paper Mills which draws about 65,000 cubic metres of water daily from the Sone to feed its 225-tonnes a day capacity integrated pulp and paper unit. A constant battle has been going on between the management and the villagers over the pollution issue since the setting up of the Birla-owned mills in 1965.
The sustained efforts of the people of the region have not been wasted as the petition committee of the state assembly, in its recent report to the legislature has asked the government to consider closing down the unit if it fails to control the pollution by installing the equipment suggested by the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute.
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