mid-day editorial: Mahad deserves better than kala paani

Published: 26 December, 2017 06:09 IST | mid-day correspondent | Mumbai

Mahad, a place that was once paradise for hundreds of villagers, has slowly turned into a living hell for them

Mahad, a place that was once paradise for hundreds of villagers, has slowly turned into a living hell for them. Scores of residents are afflicted with cancer, asthma, paralysis and skin infections, thanks to a leaking pipeline full of chemical effluents. Locals are unable to farm their land, fish in their native rivers or even drink the water there, without an automatic death sentence.

A special report in this paper highlighted how over 100 villagers staged a road blockade to protest yet another chemical leak last week, forcing the authorities to finally sit up and take notice of their plight.

The problem needs to be addressed on a war footing. First of all, one cannot even fathom why it would take a road blockade to draw attention to murder by chemicals. The toxic waste from factories has overflowed into the locals' crop fields, their wells and their rivers, leaving them to fight the triple threat of disease, hunger and thirst.

From burgeoning factories that emit effluents in bulk, to the authorities responsible for maintaining the waste pipeline, to the pollution control board - there are too many participants in this calamity.

Professionals need to step in, and we need an iron will to sort this out once and for all. Moreover, we need a single-point contact agency, which must take onus for the entire problem. It is evident that the solutions so far, if any, have been myopic and ineffective in the long run.

With the locals' anger simmering, it is evident that the region has become a powder keg. Treat this with the seriousness it deserves; bring in the best of the best expertise, and impose crippling fines on anyone who violates pollution control norms. Any time wasted now will be completely criminal.

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