The siege laid by residents of Kuanrmnuda to six sponge iron units prompted the district administration to assuage the feelings of people and persuade them to lift the blockade.

For the last three days the Kuanrmunda Nagarika Committee (KNC) led by its convener Rajesh Kerketta laid a siege to six plants in their locality and were allegedly causing severe environmental pollution.

So, the residents of the area, started the siege on 16 March. They did not let any raw materials to get into the plants and any finished products to come out of it. “We do not want to declare a bandh and cause discomfort to all so we decided to block the plants,” said Kerketta.

Following this the plants’ operations almost remained suspended as no raw materials came in. Following the situation collector Sundergarh Nitin Bhardwaj asked sub-collector Panposh Himansu S Behera to negotiate with the agitators.

Yesterday the sub-collector held a discussion, which failed. As a result, the collector held another round of discussion with the agitators at Rourkela.

The main demand of the agitators was either the plants would completely shut down or adhere in all condition to the pollution control board norms.

The discussion lasted well over five hours. Kerketta speaking from the meeting place was hopeful that there will be a solution.

Speaking on this issue, state pollution control board regional officer Hemendra Narayan NAyak said, “along with this another siege is also continuing at Bonai.” The SPCB official, who joined here very recently, said, “they are gradually implementing all the requirements in the plants following our tightening the screws.”

The SPCB would soon issue closure notice in case of any violation to the units. The next step of the SPCB would be to tackle the menace of dumping of solid waste originating from the plants.

Meanwhile, sub-collector Behera said, “they are going to meet the collector for further discussion on 28th of this month and meanwhile, they have agreed to lift the siege.”