Tata Steel, ICAR-NRRI join Odisha govt to reclaim acidic soils in state

Tata Steel and Odisha government have decided to implement a sustainable agricultural initiative to reclaim acidic soils in the state. Photo: Reuters

Tata Steel and Odisha government have decided to implement a sustainable agricultural initiative to reclaim acidic soils in the state, an official said.

The collaboration aims to utilize industrial waste, such as basic oxygen furnace (LD) slag and fly ash, as soil amendments to reclaim acidic soils in Odisha. The first consignment of LD slag was flagged off from Tata Steel Meramandali (TSM) plant in Dhenkanal district on June 18, the official said.

The project, titled “Economic and Environment-Friendly Utilisation of Basic Slag and Fly Ash as Soil Amendments to Reclaim Acid Soils of Odisha (SAFAR),” is being spearheaded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-National Rice Research Institute (ICAR-NRRI) in Cuttack, Odisha.

The initiative is part of the Odisha government’s “Waste to Wealth” programme, which promotes a circular economy. “We are pleased to collaborate with the Government of Odisha and ICAR-NRRI on this important initiative,” said Rajiv Mangal, vice president, Safety, Health and Sustainability, Tata Steel.

He said by utilizing our industrial by-products, we can contribute to the reclamation of acidic soils and support sustainable agriculture in the state.

Senior environmental engineer and regional officer, State Pollution Control Board, Angul, Ramesh Kumar Ekka said, “Utilisation of bulk generated industrial solid waste like fly ash and LD slag has become big challenges for iron and steel sectors. However, Tata Steel has taken a good initiative in collaboration with Government of Odisha and ICAR-NRRI on reclamation of acid soil with such industrial waste in the districts of Dhenkanal, Angul and Jajpur.

Tata Steel will be responsible for providing the necessary quantities of LD slag and fly ash generated in its integrated iron and steel plants to be used as soil amendments in targeted districts of Odisha, including Dhenkanal, Angul, and Jajpur.

The soil amendments will be produced and distributed in two phases – before the Kharif (monsoon) crop season and before the Rabi (winter) crop season. This timeline ensures that the amendments are available to farmers during the critical planting periods, an official said.

The project has also received approval from the State Pollution Control Board, Odisha, in line with the Fly Ash Notification and Central Pollution Control Board guidelines on the management of Pyro-Metallurgical Slag.

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First Published: Jun 20 2024 | 2:46 PM IST