In poll season, this Bathinda village demands sulphur-free air

As soon as one approaches Kanakwal village in the district, the sharp and annoying odour of sulphur gas welcomes him. Villagers blame an oil refinery plant at the outer limits of the village for the foul smell.

When the refinery was established in the villager, the people had expected that it would change their future. It did. With sulphur-mixed gas coming out of the factory, diseases related to respiration, skin, and bones are grappling the villagers, especially newborn and old people.

"Sometimes level of the gas reaches so high that people die under its influence. The gas has affected women, children, and animals the most," the villagers told ANI.

Babies born before their due time in the village, and sometimes with pre-birth diseases, they say.

The gas not only directly harms human and animals but also adversely affects land and air. Many well-off families have left the village due to the menace.

Talking to ANI, villagers allege that authorities do not heed to their plights.

They made several attempts including protest, sit-ins, and roadblock in order to get their voices heard but to no avail. Even they boycotted several elections in the past but, that too did not help. As leaders throng to the village to seek votes, they have only hope in their eyes and anger in their voices.