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Pharma associations resort to paying money to village heads to calm villagers over environment pollution

A Raju, Hyderabad
Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In the recent revelations, it has come to light that some of the pharma associations in Gaddapotharam and Kazipally industrial areas on the outskirts of Hyderabad are resorting to pay huge amounts of money to the village heads to keep the villagers calm and stop them from approaching any courts against environmental pollution by the pharma companies in their villages.

According to a social activist from Gaddapotharam village, a pharma association called Model Industrial Association (MIA) operating in the Industrial areas has deposited an amount to the tune of more than Rs. 10 lakhs over the past 7 years into the personal accounts of Sarpanch and another top village head of Gaddapotharam gram panchayat, in order to distribute the same to the villagers whose lands are being polluted by the toxic effluents released from the pharma companies.

The activists alleged that even though the pharma companies are openly dumping the toxic industrial waste into the lakes and other water bodies and rendering the surrounding agriculture lands of farmers useless, the pollution control board is sitting idle taking no action against the firms violating the environmental norms. Taking this as an advantage, the pharma associations are approaching the village heads to shut the mouths of the villagers.

“The MIA has claimed through its letter head that it has deposited Rs. 10.5 lakhs into the personal accounts of one Ashok and N. Srinivas, who are the village heads of Guddapotharam village. This amount is said to be distributed among 150 land owners as against more than 1,000 farmers in the village whose lands have been destroyed due to industrial pollution. As the government and the PCB are turning a blind eye, the association members are selectively tackling the villagers to see that the issue is not flared up too much and have managed to keep them calm for many years now, which has cost them their livelihood and health. Our demand is to take action against the environmental violators and provide justice to all those farmers who have been affected due to industrial pollution,” demanded Srikanth Kumari, an activist from the Gaddapotharam village.

It is alleged that the MIA is targeting the village heads and paying them money to calm down voices raised against the industrial pollution in the Industrial areas of Gaddapotharam and Khazipally areas on the outskirts of Hyderabad. As the PCB officials are turning a blind eye on the polluting industries, the association members are managing the villagers through their village heads by paying them huge lump sums.

At present the land surrounding the Gaddapotharam and Kazipally industrial areas has been polluted making the land and water useless for agriculture purpose. This has ruined the livelihood of the villagers. In view of this, the villagers and social activists are demanding the government to take stock of the situation in the area and immediately conduct an enquiry by the pollution control board to assess the damage caused by the industrial pollution and help compensate the villagers proportionately in accordance to their livelihood and healthcare loss.

When contacted about the incident, the PCB authorities said they are unaware of the incident. However they said they would enquire into the matter and ascertain the facts and take necessary action against the violators.


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