For monitoring of environmental quality in mineral-bearing areas, the Odisha government has drawn up a proposal for installing monitoring stations.
The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has identified eight mineral-rich districts for monitoring pollution by installing online continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) and continuous river water quality monitoring stations (CRWQMS) with real-time data transmission systems.
The identified districts are Angul, Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Rayagada, Jharsuguda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur.
In this regard, the board has submitted a proposal to the Odisha Mineral Bearing Area Development Corporation (OMBADC), a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed by the state government following the Supreme Court order to carry out developmental activities in mineral-rich regions of the state.
While CAAQMS are proposed to be set up in six locations, CRWQMS will be installed in Rayagada and Jajpur.
Occupying an important position on the country's map, the state's rich mineral reserves constitute 28 per cent of India's total deposits of iron ore, 24 per cent of its coal, 59 per cent of its bauxite and 98 per cent of its chromite reserves.
The state's comparative advantage on this account has attracted the attention of many mining and metallurgical companies.
OMBADC's objective is to improve social infrastructure such as provision of drinking water, sanitation, livelihood promotion, irrigation, skill development for alternative livelihood and supplementary income in the mineral-bearing areas. Besides, environmental upgradation, construction of roads, anganwadi centres, power supply infrastructure, health services, development of sports and other activities would also form part of the action plan. The task of the corporation is separate from the District Mineral Foundation concept introduced by the new Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act.
"Putting up monitoring stations will ensure better surveillance in mineral-rich areas on a real-time basis," said official sources.