Surat : The rapid industrialization in Bharuch district may have established Gujarat as the manufacturing hub, but at the cost of the poor farmers. Reason: the blatant violation of the Air Pollution Act and the increase in chemical pollution by the chemical industries has affected 70,000 hectares of agricultural land in Bharuch district.
The Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG), working for the upliftment of farmers and agriculture-related issues in the state of Gujarat since 1972, surveyed the large part of the agricultural land in various talukas of Bharuch district, surrounded by the chemical industries, and found the local environment is severely damaged due to the non-compliance of various environmental protections, violation of Air Pollution Act and manufacturing of the chemicals prohibited in the developed countries and huge amount of toxic chemical particles present in the air.
KSG has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect the livelihood of the farmers and curb the air and chemical pollution in Bharuch district.
Bharuch district’s Dahej is known as the special investment region for petroleum, chemicals, and petrochemicals. The Dahej GIDC and Vilayat village in Bharuch district have high-risk mega chemical manufacturing companies. Industries largely produce huge quantities of chemicals such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, chemicals, metals, dyes, and intermediates.
These industries release certain chemicals known as phenoxy compounds in the air, which damages the standing crop in the Bharuch region. Most of the 70,000 hectares of cotton and tuver crops have been affected and farmers have been forced to destroy the distorted crops from their agricultural areas by inflicting heavy losses.
Due to the presence of chemicals in the air many trees have been affected and dried up and weeds are also showing deformation. Thus, the entire environment and organisms have been severely damaged in the Bharuch region due to harmful chemicals.
According to the KSG, the leaves of the cotton plant show deformation, and the plant stops growing after the top deformity of the plant is found. It is observed that after 50-60 days the plant gets leaf deformity and its growth stops. The plants live without any growth. Farmers have to remove these plants from the field. Some plants also have long leaves.
Tuvar crop has also been damaged and no growth has been seen in some parts of Bharuch district and Vadodara district. The affected area of cotton cultivation is about 70,000 hectares. In the Bharuch and Vadodara areas, 50,000 farmers from such a large area have lost almost all their crops. The farmers in the talukas including Vagra, Amod, Bharuch, Jambusar, Karjan talukas are the most affected.
The report of the District Agriculture Officer along with the diagnostic team of the agricultural universities clearly states that the diffusion of phenoxy compounds such as 2,4 D and 2, 4 D-B present in the air is responsible for the current problem. The GPCB has no method available to measure such chemicals and pollutants in the air.
“In a situation where dicotyledonous crops are rapidly being affected and destroyed, farmers are losing patience. The government should take immediate steps to curb air pollution and guide farmers to save their crops by prescribing remedial measures in five days. The government has not taken any action after the report of the agricultural universities was released. Farmers are losing their crops and expenses and suffering a lot. The number of affected farmers is between 40,000-50,000 who have lost their crops” said Jayesh Patel, president of KSG.
MHS Shaikh, president of Brackish Water Research Centre (BWRC) said, “About 1,000 square kilometer area of cultivated crops has been affected due to the air and chemical pollution. We have demanded the measurement of 2,4 D and 2,4, D-B present in the air in Bharuch district”