Taloja MIDC choking Kharghar, Roadpali; residents demand action

The residents from Kharghar, Roadpali and nearby vicinity have yet again voiced their discontent over the increasing air pollution in the locality. According to them, the harmful chemicals emitted from the industries located in the Taloja MIDC area, are causing serious health issues and the situation has only gotten worse post lockdown. Seventy eight housing societies under Roadpali Residents Welfare Association (RRWA) have written letter to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) regarding the same. The residents are accusing both Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) of inaction.

Deepak Khasturi, secretary, RRWA said, “We have handed over the letter to the MPCB and asked them to take necessary action. The air pollution has worsened since last six months as there has been no monitoring since the lockdown.”

Kharghar, Roadpali and Kamothe are all just a kilometre away from Taloja MIDC area, which has nearly a 1,000 pharmaceutical, food, and engineering factories, spread across 2157 acres. In addition to this, the 347 small- and medium-scale industries, mostly comprising of chemical, pharmaceutical, and food processing are polluting industries with one Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) treating the effluents from all these plants. The areas facing the worst cases of pollution are spread over in sectors 35, 16, 17 and 18 of Kharghar.

Taloja corporator Arvind Mahatre, who moved National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2017 against the pollution caused by factories in the Taloja MIDC said, “The 12 villages which are in close vicinity to the MIDC area are the worst affected but the extended cities like Kharghar Kalamboli and Kamothe too are now getting impacted. I have approached the PCMC to take cognizance of the issue but they too are least bothered. There is need to monitor pollution and a permanent solution to the issue," said Mahatre.

Shapur Dilkhush, a senior resident of Goodwill Society from sector 5 in New Panvel, said, “We shifted out of Kharghar some two years back to get rid of pollution woes. My wife is asthmatic and was facing hard time at Kharghar. Little did we knew that we will end up again in the same problem here at Panvel. We are again faced with the same water and pollution woes.”

“It is really sad that the civic body as well as MPCB does not feel the need to ensure the residents their basic right of clean air. The problem is really alarming,” said Adwait Jha, 40 a Roadpali resident. The Roadpali node was developed some five years back and today more than 1000 families reside here. Small protests and complaints via letters were done in past as well but it fetched only temporary solution.

The residents have asked for detailed action plan from MPCB officials to address the situation. D B Patil, regional officer, MPCB said, “We have received complaints about increased pollution and we have instructed major polluting units to keep a check on chemical emission. We are also conducting regular visits to these units to keep a tab onthe same. We have also suspended the licence of two fishery industries at Taloja.”

MIDC official said, “The work of the second CETP unit of 23-MLD capacity is almost done and would be operational soon. The industries too have been asked to be careful about releasing chemicals effluents and adhere to green norms.”

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