Residents of Lingali and Malvadi villages near Daund are stuck between a rock and a hard place. While 40 acres of government land in their neighbourhood has been illegally turned into a quarry, leading to widespread pollution, locals claim the offenders — a certain Gullu Ghai and his brothers — have threatened them of dire consequences and authorities are turning a blind eye to their woes.
Information revealed through Right to Information (RTI) Act from the tehsildar’s office clearly shows that the quarry is unlawfully operated on government land. The Maharashtra Pollution control board (MPCB) had also sent a team to the site to check the air and noise pollution in the area. The board’s report, a copy of which is with MiD DAY, states that the air pollution control arrangements are not adequate, as required by the Air (P&CP) Act, 1981.
Farmers are fighting the apathy of the administration ever since the presence of the crushers started showing adverse effects on their fields. The dust is making the soil infertile, claim locals. Daund tehsil is about 70 kilometres away from Pune.
The explosions taking place in the illegal quarry have reportedly damaged houses and other establishments in the area.
“You can see cracks on the walls of my newly-constructed house. The school and gymnasium in the village had to suffer damage due to stones flung out of the quarry,” said Arun Jagdale, a resident of Lingali.
“I had planted lemon trees in my farm, but because of the dust they are dying. The pollutants are affecting banana, coconut and sugarcane fields also,” said Arun Khavale, another local.
Locals claim at least ten animals have lost their life due to the pollution. “The dust gathers on fodder, which is consumed by cows, bullocks and other cattle. They are suffering from kidney stones. In addition, four cows and bullocks have died in last year inhaling the particles,” informed Deepak Kate, another resident of Lingale.
When contacted, tehsildar Baburao Pawar said, “I will have to look into the matter, an cannot comment offhand.”