Guwahati, Thursday, June 16, 2011
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Lebra river getting polluted by Bhutanese mines
Correspondent
 MUSHALPUR, June 15 – Polluted water released from coal mines at Dewangiri (Deothan) in Bhutan has posed threat to No. 1 Paharpur, Hortola, Sukanjuli and nearby villages near Darangamela in the Indo-Bhutan areas of Baksa district.

 A team of mediapersons who visited these villages recently were also informed that a silicon factory situated on the bank of Lebra river on its upstream in the Bhutanese side has added woes to the human and animal lives in the downstream. The villagers said that the water of the Lebra river has turned black due to release of pollutants from coal mines. The river has come to be known as Kalanadi, meaning black river.

The mediapersons noticed black water flowing into the village paddy fields through canals in No. 1 Paharpur village. The farmers recalled that a couple of years ago the water of Kalanadi did not use to be black in colour and it was good for cultivation, drinking as well as for all other activities. The last couple of years have proved to be very difficult for the villagers as crop production came down, fish population died, the cattle contracted diseases and the people contracted abdominal problems as well as various skin diseases. The media team noticed pieces of coals lying on the river bed as well as in the canal. The villagers added that often a chemical substance like oil is seen floating on the surface of river water which may be a release of the silicon factory. The most dangerous thing is that people still collect drinking water from pools dug out from the river bed as they have no alternatives left. Another matter of concern is that Lebra river flows down to Pagladiya river bearing similar threat to human, animals and birds, aquatic creatures as well as plants dependent on Pagladiya river.

The slogan of developed Assam sung in Dispur and that of model BTC sung at Kokrajhar has not reached these villages where the poor people live a medieval life sans health, drinking water, sanitation, road and electricity facilities. Unless immediate action is taken to check pollution in Lebra river the said villages may be depopulated due to contraction of deadly diseases.

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