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Chemical Firm Hits Green Hurdle

The New Indian Express

29 Jan 2015

CUDDALORE: Environment activists and villagers expressed opposition to the proposed expansion of Clariant, a private chemical company functioning in Cuddalore SIPCOT, during a public hearing on Wednesday. The hearing, chaired by Cuddalore RDO M Sharmila was organised by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. District environment engineer Raja was also present.

Speaking on the occasion, PMK functionary Paza Thamaraikannan said, "Already residents of the 50 villages surrounding SIPCOT are suffering due to pollution. In this situation, no new company and expansion should take place as it would worsen the situation. Moreover, local people were not given job opportunities in the company."

Pointing out shortcomings in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, Ramanathan of SIPCOT Area Community Environment Monitoring (SACEM) said, “Lot of information in this document is outdated and irrelevant now. Data given in the EIA also indicates that the EIA consultant has plagiarized and provided false data. So, the Ministry of Environment should immediately cancel this EIA and take action against those responsible for providing false information.” Further, he said there was no adequate ground water monitoring plan indicated in the EIA report as heavy metal contamination was one of the main problems in SIPCOT. Participants also raised concerns that already people were prone to cancer because of the contaminated water.

However, supporting the expansion, V Anandhan, president of Kudikadu village, said "In job opportunity, preference should be given to locals, particularly those who gave their land to the company. As far as environment is concerned, the company should strictly obey norms prescribed by the Pollution Control Board."

As the meeting progressed, quarrels erupted between the two sides when they started to emphasize their stands. Following the uproar, the RDO ended the meeting and said opinions of people would be communicated to the government.

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