Mangalore: MRPL pollution forces residents out of homes at Jokatte

Shreyas H S
Daijiworld Media Network—Mangalore

Mangalore, Oct 19: People living within 200-300 meters from the sulphur and coke units of Mangalore Refinery Petrochemical Limited (MRPL) have vacated their homes and locals dwelling in the vicinity of Jokatte claim that water, sound, and air pollution caused by the new units is the cause.

The trees that emerged out of the lake at Meindagure, behind the old Mosque have turned flaccid indicating environment degradation of the area. The lake which now appears dark green and shabby, no longer accommodates aquatic creatures, thanks to water pollution. “One and a half years ago, we used to swim in the same lake which has now turned into a dump yard for MRPL”, accused B H Moideen Sharif, co-convener, Jokatte Nagarika Horata Samiti (JNHS).

The impact of the pollution has cut across two villages—Jokatte and Kalvaru—posing problems for 800 to 1,000 households in these localities. Abdul Hakim, a businessman residing in Jokatte, has installed an industrial water purifier worth Rs 1.5 lac to purify the water in the two open wells in his house. “Though the house is equipped with a purifier, the air pollution caused by MRPL has made our children vulnerable to cough and asthma,” said a relative of Hakim under the condition of anonymity. He added that the condition of many open wells in the place was no different.

Skin and respiratory problems among residents have considerably increased in the aftermath of the setting up of new units as part of the third phase of MRPL’s expansion. “Despite the units currently producing end product upto 25 percent of its capacity, we have been experiencing bizarre consequences,” lamented Sharif. He expressed anguish over the apathy of health and family welfare minister U T Khader and his failure to take out time to listen to the grievances of the locals.

The residents dwelling close to the sulphur and coke units were forced to leave the place as they saw this as the only solution. The houses built in Kattapuni and other places, which were shown to Daijiworld had been locked up. These people had been living in close proximity to the units and their property had not been acquired under the Mangalore Special Economic Zone.

“Gram Panchayat president Sheik Kunzhi has blatantly cheated us by dramatically winning a contract for constructing a compound wall in the place,” alleged Abdul Nazeer another co-convener of the JNHS. He alleged that due to his vested interests, Kunzhi had derailed the trust placed in him by the locals. He pointed out that the children of the labour class going to an Anganavadi located just 200 meters away from the MRPL units had been deprived of healthy space by the government.

A teacher at the Anganavadi echoed these views and said that the sound of the units and the stinky smell emanating could not be handled and the number of children being admitted to the Anganavadi had sharply declined. “The children and I cannot breathe due to the bad smell that usually lashes the vicinity in the morning hours”, she added.

However, the official spokesperson of MRPL said that they too are concerned about the issues raised by the people. The spokesperson alleged that a few arguments put forth by the residents were intended to threaten MRPL and win employment and contracts. The official confirmed that they do not let out waste into the lake and the coke unit has not yet started its operation as reported to the media by the locals.

“We have collected the water samples of the villages and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board also has the sample,” said the spokesperson and added that the report will give a complete picture about the reasons behind the pollution.


Top Stories

Comment on this article

  • Walter Lobo, Bajpe/Boston

    Mon, Oct 20 2014

    This MRPL pollution problem was identified about 7 years ago, damaging the environment and drinking water supply. The root cause of the problem is that the subject companies do not have "zero" discharge permits, unlike in the western countries, and no environmental regulatory agencies to regulate discharges. Combined with that, the local engineering schools are totally engaged in producing computer and electronic engineering graduates for export to western countries, no environmental engineering programs exists. Thus companies do not hire environmental engineers, thus build facilities with total disregard to environment. It is said, future generation will be born with birth defects and people would die prematurely. For example, the fly ash mixed with rainwater from power plant leaching into the ground. The flyash contains sulfur, which produces acid and gets into food chain. Unless and until, regulatory agencies.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rita, Germany

    Sun, Oct 19 2014

    A bad and negligence from MRPL.concern.They are supposed to Keep it healthy and and anything happened they have to answer.why are People now doesn't go against These People legally?Ask and complain to health Minister about this.For years the place will be left polluted and cant live there .The concern must be Aware of These things and immediately do something to clean it.dont leave them just like that.protest against it.otherwise People protest against small things why not here?Afterall the health of our small and big children include environment is to be noted.They think only their Profit.They should immediately Close their firm before too late is.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ravi B Shenava, Mangalore

    Sun, Oct 19 2014

    MRPL pollution is not only affecting Jokatte, but pollution has also affected Kuthetoor, Bajpe, Permude villages also very badly. People here are ready to sell their properties at throw away prices, but the Swamiji representing vested interest who poked his nose and stopped MRPL or SEZ from buying it is the real villain, and the real estate prices are coming down sharply in these areas as there are no buyers at all.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sunil Dsouza, Mangalore / Mumbai

    Sun, Oct 19 2014

    Pretty sad to see locals suffer. The main pollutants from a refinery are Hydrogen Sulphide Gas and Benzene related petrochem compounds (usually called aromatics). Apart from this there can be ground water leaching of used Cobalt Molybednum Catalyst (popularly known as Comox) and also other types of catalysts used for refining of crude oil.

    Refineries have to ensure that the used catalyst are disposed off in safe and proper manner. A single petrochem reactor could contain as many as 500 bags of catalyst of 1m3 volume depending on the size. Refineries usually dump or bury these bags within the premises, which may in-turn pollute the water table with heavy metals.

    Most of the compounds and gases are toxic and also carcinogenic (Cancerous) upon long term exposure. Some refineries have their employees regularly checked for accumulation of specially benzene compounds also to ensure that they are not over exposed.

    DisAgree Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • simple, bangalore

    Sun, Oct 19 2014

    good info thanks.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • shagird, mangalore

    Sun, Oct 19 2014

    sad that no govt agency is looking into such a case of reckless pollution.this was a village with beautiful & tranquill surroundings. see the tragedy of development....
    TEAM DAIJI should give more coverage to such happenings.
    worldwide they are getting very strict regarding pollution and we should also do our best to stop this attitude of industries.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fredjeev, Nagercoil

    Sun, Oct 19 2014

    If you object to this nonsense in the beginning, they will call you anti-development funded by external agencies.
    If you object when they are half way through, they will call it sponsored anti-national lobbying.
    If you object when the damage is done, they would pass the blame from the government to the people asking what they were doing before the plan was implemented...
    Someday, the politicians who allow this and those elected to prevent this, will realize that the worth of the people who trust them is more than the few morsels these chemical giants pay them for the betrayal...

    DisAgree Agree [30] Reply Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Title: Mangalore: MRPL pollution forces residents out of homes at Jokatte

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.