Hyderabad: Chirman Ramulu, a 65-year-old farmer can now be seen at temples begging for food and money.
Ramulu, who has seven acres of farmland in Kazipally village, was well off years back and used to support his family of four including his wife and two daughters. He used to grow paddy on his land and earn enough by selling it twice a year. But, now he has given up farming as his fertile land has turned barren due to pollution of the land and water due to effluents from bulk drug units and the pharma industry.
“Twice a year I used to grow paddy and earn up to Rs 40,000 a acre every year. But, now my land has become useless. I cannot grow anything on it. As the entire land has become polluted even the Kazi Lake which was our water source is also completely polluted,” said Ramulu.
This is not the case of Ramulu alone but over 200 farmers of Kazipally village in Medak district, who lost their source of livelihood.
Over 120 acres of farmland in Kazipally has become unsuitable for farming. There are over 40 bulk drug units SMS Pharmaceuticals, Aurbindo Pharma, DIVI, Hetero Drugs, Apex, Nylon, Sarca, Virchow and others whose effluents flow through the Jallevagu.
Later when the farmers realised that polluting industries were destroying their land they raised the issue in court and with the government. As per direction of the SC, the government intervened and collected compensation to hand over to the farmers. Later, the officials asked the farmers and the local Sarpanch to deal with them directly for yearly compensation.
However, the bulk drug industries are paying only a pittance and are shirking their responsibilities.
“We have been fighting in court and have also held several dharnas in front of these drug units. But, now the local representative and some farmers have made an agreement with the bulk drug factory owners. Farmers are being given Rs 4,000 per acre every year,” said C. Shankar, a local ward member.
“Since we are fed up with court cases and as the government does not pay attention to our problems we are talking what is being offered. We are given Rs 4,000 an acre every year. How will that compensate our agricultural income and how will we raise our families. Our lands have turned barren and we have no other source of income. Our children have become labourers,” said M. Bheema another farmer. However, the case is still pending in the National Green Tribunal.
The APPCB has turned a blind eye to the violations. “After notification the drug units are following the Zero Liquid Discharge method that does not cause pollution since there is no outflow of effluents,” said Joint chief environmental engineer Bhaskar Rao. However, a visit to the place clearly showed effluents still flowing out from the drug units and polluting the open countryside and fields.