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Public protest over landfill project

News Today Bureau
Chennai, Jan 13 2006

The Tamilnadu Governmentís proposal to setup a hazardous waste landfill project in Gummidipoondi, 30 Km north of Chennai, is attracting strong protest from the local residents.

More than 200 residents, primarily women, from Gummidipoondi and neighbouring areas physically entered and stopped work at the project site of Tamilnadu Waste Management Limited (TNWML)ís hazardous waste landfill and incinerator.

This project is being developed on a built-own operate basis and will treat effluents from nearly 400 factories in Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts.

This project is jointly promoted by T N W M L and Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board.

Women from Tamilnadu Womenís Collective in Redhills and nearby areas and representatives of Community Environmental Monitoring also joined the residents in solidarity.

S R Kandigai Panchayat has issued a notice to TNWML a subsidiary of Hyderabad based waste management company, M/s Ramky Enviro Engineers for commencing civil works, including excavation at the hazardous waste landfill and incinerator, without securing permission from the Panchayat as is mandated under the Tamilnadu Panchayats Act, 1994.

Y Suresh, President of the Panchayat said the company has violated relevant provisions of Panchayat Act which makes mandatory for any company to get the permission of the panchayat for commencment of construction work. He said, "we have served a notice to the company to stop the work immediately under the act.We object the project on the ground that the entire area is an agricultural zone and rich in ground water reserves."

Ninety-year-old freedom fighter, Y Krishnama Raju, Convenor of Agricultural Professional Action Committee, Gummidipoondi has approached the Court stating that the landfill is situated too close to the water sources and also in violation of Supreme Court guidelines and sought the courtís intervention to stop the work.

B R Kandigai villagers reported the matter to the Gummidipoondi SIPCOT police station and filed a police complaint against the Company. A complaint has also been lodged with the Block Development Officer at the Panchayat Union Council office at Gummidipoondi.

Nityanand Jayaram of Corporate Accountability Desk said, "the company has violated Supreme Court guidelines on siting for toxic disposal facilities by locating the site adjacent to Kuluvacheruvu lake and few metres away from Pappankuppam village".

He added that the S C guidelines stipulate that the siting for toxic disposal facilities should not be located in areas with a high groundwater table, near agricultural lands, close to human habitation and near drinking water sources.

Local villagers in one voice said that they will not allow the facility to come up and are now considering their options given that all their attempts to address the matter by approaching government and police has failed

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