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Bhopal in our backyard, say SIPCOT residents

News Today Bureau
Chennai, Nov 27, 2006:

Residents of SIPCOT, Cuddalore, have been on the warpath. They have been dead against pollution-intensive industrialisation facing the district. Now, they have decided to register the protest in an intensive manner.

So, there's a plan to take out a cycle rally from Cuddalore to Chennai to create awareness about the environmental issues confronting residents of SIPCOT, Cuddalore, and highlight the threats of pollution-intensive industrialisation.

The cycle rally, which would be flagged off in Cuddalore tomorrow, would reach Chennai on 2 December. The rally is being jointly organised by SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring, Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, DEPORT, Youth for Social Change and The Other Media.

According to press release issued by the organisers, youth from Chennai, Cuddalore and Mettur will cycle and travel through the coastal areas of Cuddalore, Puducherry and parts of Kancheepuram and Chennai, and through the inland areas along GST Road between 28 November and 2 December.

The rally is being organised in view of the 22 anniversary of the 1984 Union Carbide Disaster in Bhopal, which falls on 3 December. The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (Chennai) and its supporters wish to highlight Cuddalore as a Bhopal 'in our own backyard'.

The Tamilnadu government has earmarked coastal Cuddalore for locating the dirtiest and most hazardous industries in the State, the release said. 'Already, the district is seriously affected by pollution from more than 19 chemical industries located in SIPCOT Industrial Estate.'

The State Human Rights Commission and the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights had observed that SIPCOT residents are already overburdened with pollution. 'They have recommended against setting up any more chemical industries in the area,' the release said.

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