Mushrooming of garments dyeing factories along Charrial canal, which is an important means of irrigation in a part of South 24-Parganas, has spoiled the water body affecting agriculture in the area.
The canal from Thakurpukur to Charrial in South 24-Parganas runs through areas including Mahestala, Raspunja, Nahajari, Chata, Asuti I and II gram panchayats. Around 5,000 factories have come up in the areas.
According to a local resident, who preferred anonymity, said the setting up of the factories started in 2000 and now more factories were coming up.
In the factories, different chemicals are used to dye clothes of various kinds including jeans. Effluent from the factories flows out to nearby ponds or other channels and finally contaminates the canal water.
The water has become so polluted that a person cannot even stand on its bank due to foul smell. The water of the canal stinks mainly due to the chemicals that flow in to it and contaminates the water.
Earlier, people used to take bath in the canal and fishing was means of livelihood for many people.
“But with the level of pollution going up every day with mushrooming of the factories hardly any aquatic life is alive in the canal. Thus there is no question of fishing,” said another local resident, adding that they cannot openly fight against the factory owners apprehending dire consequences.
The reason being the factory owners are financially powerful. So they are sending letters to various departments and ministers to get rid of the problem.
Most importantly, the cultivation of Boro rice was totally dependable on the canal’s water. During high tide, the canal gets filed with water and automatically the water moves in to the agricultural fields.
There is no scarcity of water. But the major problem is that the crops often get damaged as the water that flows in carries harmful chemicals. The farmers are in a helpless situation as they have to allow the water to flow into their fields as they have no other option.
Thus, the pollution of the canal is directly and indirectly affecting more than 1.5 lakh people.
The local residents had approached Pollution Control Board and sought their help. The board authorities have given assurances to local residents to look into the matter.
They even wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee about their problem and also informed him how the canal is getting polluted due to the factories.