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Protests Over Hazardous Waste Plant

By Our Correspondent
Deccan Chronicle,
Chennai. 20 November, 2005

The residents of Gummidipoondi in Thiruvallur district are up in arms against the construction of a hazardous waste storage and disposal plant in the area.

The residents fear that the proposed plant will badly contaminate the water resources of the locality, as the proposed plant is adjoining the Kuluva Cheruvu lake.

Speaking to this newspaper Mr. V. Suresh, president of the local panchayat, said "The private organisation, which has taken up the construction work of the plant from the state government has so far not received any approval from the local body for the construction of such a plant in the locality. Currently, the panchayat and the public have stopped the work," he said.

"The residents have been expressing their protest for the past few months," said Mr. Nityanand Jayaram, member, Corporate Accountability Desk.

He alleged that the construction of the plant was against the location guidelines for toxic waste facilities. According to the guidelines and the Supreme Court orders, no disposal plant should be constructed close to a residential area. Similar plants should be at least 500 meters away from residential areas, lakes and agricultural land and could be constructed only in areas that lack in quality groundwater.

The regulations have not been followed and the private concern, in association with the state government is trying to erect a plant against existing norms, alleged Ms. Jothi, a local resident.

The private concern has to get a no objection certificate from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the local body and the block development office for the construction.

But the officials of the firm failed to produce any such orders from any of the government departments, claimed the panchayat president.

Meanwhile, recently, miscreants had breached the lake and thousands of gallons of water flooded five villages, said residents.

"The panchayat has also lodged a complaint with the Gummidipoondi police station on Saturday to fix the miscreants, who broke the lake bund," Mr. Suresh said.

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