|Kali Bachao Andolan|
Environment Support Group ®
Shri. S. M. Krishna
Hon'ble Chief Minister of Karnataka
14 July 2003
Reg.: Epidemic Outbreak of Gastroenteritis and Death due to Pollution of Kali River by West Coast Paper Mills
The undersigned met with you on 6th June 2003 with a representation of Kali Bachao Andolan highlighting that:
a) Kali River was heavily polluted due to callous discharge of effluents from West Coast Paper Mills, Dandeli, encouraged by the lack of regulatory action by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the District authorities.
b) That a dam proposed by Murdeshwar Power Corporation at Dandeli was being pushed through despite highly illegal moves to secure clearances on the basis of fraudulent EIAs.
c) Rampant and illegal sand mining is continuing without check and this is severely disturbing the sensitive ecology of this river.
In this connection, we understand that the Secretary, Dept. of Ecology and Environment, Government of Karnataka, upon your direction, has written to the Chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, vide letter dated 25 June 2003 No. FEE 246 ENV 2000, requesting a status report, on the first issue above. We are not sure of the action taken on the other two issues raised.
In light of the above, the Pollution Control Board should have immediately swung into action and undertaken a field investigation. Based on our enquiries with the Board office in Bangalore today, no such action has yet been taken.
In the meantime, a tragic result of the continuing discharge of untreated effluents by West Coast Paper Mills has been that a 10-day-old baby of one Takki, a resident of Kariampalli village in Dandeli Taluk, died last week. This was because the mother took ill after consuming water from the river, the main source of drinking water in the region.
Another resident of the same village, one Janu (nee Zure), S/o of Danu, aged about 27 years, has suffered acute renal failure, due to severe dehydration, and is presently undergoing dialysis at Nalwad Hospital at Gokul Road in Hubli (Tel. 08362370360) on the reference of Dr. Patil of Dandeli (Tel.: 08284-331636). So far the patient has incurred an expenditure of over Rs. 30,000, undergone dialysis 6 to 7 times, and is in intensive care. Absolutely no medical or financial support has been rendered to him till date by the district authorities.
In addition, over 50 residents of this village have suffered serious gastrointestinal disorders. Many of these patients have been treated by Dr. Bhole at Dandeli (Tel: 08284-331634/331933). Dr. Patil has also treated some patients.
The cause, apparently, is discharge of untreated effluents from West Coast Paper Mills into the Kali River between 2nd and 5th July, and the death and illness has been only reported thereafter, not before, and mainly from Kariampally village, which is situated immediately after the point of effluent discharge. This is information we have just received from Mr. S. R. Gundupkar, a resident of the village, whose contact details will be provided if his personal security is assured.
When Mr. Gundupkar and several others went to the Dandeli police to report this incident and file an FIR, the police dissuaded them from doing so. Furthermore, the Mills and the district authorities have refused any help to the affected people. All affected are Gowli tribals, who are losing their last paisa in dealing with their illness.
Sir, it is most unfortunate that despite submitting a representation to you on this matter, lack of timely action has resulted in death of a child and serious illness and injury to many others. Considering which we demand that:
We hope now you will take immediate action in this regard.
Leo F. Saldanha
for KALI BACHAO ANDOLAN