The people living nearby are suffering from acute water crisis and various skin diseases because of Barapukuria Power Plant.
Thousands of people in 11 villages in Fulbaria upazila are victims of various skin diseases due to the waste and coal mixed contaminated water discharged from the power plant. They are also suffering from acute water crisis, as water level of the area has fallen drastically due to the 14 deep-water pumps of the plant which are always active, said local sources.
Fazlur Rahman, an employee of the power plant and resident of Yusufpur village, said: “In 2009, the power plant authorities installed 14 deep-water pumps to collect water to produce electricity. These pumps collect nearly thousands of tonne of water per hour to meet the demand.”
“Due to excessive collection of water by the pumps, the water level of the area has fallen drastically and the locals are becoming more and more deprived of water every year,” he alleged.
“Now, we are compelled to buy water from Bogra Palli Unnayon Academy to meet our daily needs,” he continued.
In addition, the locals have contracted a number of skin diseases as they are forced to use discharged toxic water from the plant for their daily usage.
Riva, a second grader student of the local school and daughter of Idris Ali, hailing from Yusufpur village has been suffering from complicated skin diseases for two months after using coal-mixed waste water. Idris Ali spends Tk700 daily on medicine for her daughter, but his efforts went into vain, said local sources.
Idris Ali said: “Riva had washed her hands with water from a ditch, it was filled with coal mixed water. We had no other water source. After that, she contracted these skin diseases.”
“Locals including farmers, school going children and women of the area, who used ditch water for daily works, are also suffering from skin diseases like Riva,” said Idris.
Local people also alleged that, amid living beside of the power plant they are suffering from load-shedding.
Achhiya Khatun, resident in the upazila said, “We pay Tk12 per month for water but the supply of water is not enough to meet our demands.”
“The power plant is not for us. We live beside the power plant but we do not get electricity and have to suffer from acute load shedding,” he alleged.
Hazrat Ali, Senior Assistant Director (Security) of Barapukuria Power Plant said: “Water levels have fallen due to deep-water pumps of power plant but the water and waste emerged from the plant are totally safe.”
He said, “A huge number of locals are employed in the power plant but a handful have filed false cases against the power plant to tarnish its success.”
“With the financial help of the power plant, Bogra Palli Unnayon Academy is supplying water to the locals,” he continued.
Contacted, Dr. Nurul Islam, the upazila health and family planning officer said: “Though water and waste emerged from the power plant are very harmful for the human body, we have yet to see any victims of coal mixed water.”