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PUBLIC HEARING Anti-shipyard protest launched

15 July 2011

Deccan Chronicle

Villagers, NGOs and social action groups held a major protest against a private firmís move to build a shipbuilding yard in Silambimangalam near Parangipettai at a public hearing organised by the Tamil Nadu pollution control board on Thursday. A few kilometers away, hundreds of fishermen from nearly 25 hamlets surrounding the proposed project area boycotted the public hearing.

Chidambaram constituency MLA K. Balakrishnan alleged that the private firm had a hidden agenda behind the establishment of a shipbuilding yard. He said

Goodearth Shipbuilding Private Limited had obtained an approval to establish a single super phosphate fertilizer plant within the project area and had not notified the establishment of the chemical plant in the public hearing. Mr Balakrishnan further added that the stretch from Cuddalore to Periyapattu had many polluting industries and the proposed affect the environment but also the livelihood of fishermen.

Chezhiyan, president of Killai Panchayat, said the project should not cleared at any cost as the private firm had not addressed its effect on fishermen's lives and its environmental impact assessment. He termed the hearing a mockery and accused the pollution board of not making people aware of the project.

K. Ezhumalai, president of Velingarayan fishing hamlet, alleged procedural delays and that the private firm had not declared rehabilitation measures for the families. Fishermen in the surrounding 25 hamlets have abstained from fishing activities to protest.

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