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Protest over TN toxic landfill

The Penninsula On-line
1/14/2006

Chennai: A major confrontation is brewing between Tamil Nadu villagers and the authorities over a hazardous waste disposal site, which people say will poison the land and groundwater.

The bone of contention is a landfill site in Gummidipoondi, 40km north of Chennai and bordering Andhra Pradesh, where the government wants to bury toxic waste from 400 factories.

Around 200 people there, primarily women, on Thursday barged into the site to protest against the landfill.

Women from the Tamil Nadu Women's Collective in the outskirts of Redhills, where major drinking water reservoirs for Chennai are situated, and nearby areas and the representatives of Community Environmental Monitoring also joined the local villages in their protest.

The Tamil Nadu government is in a hurry to set up the toxic-waste facility because it has been pulled up several times since 1997 by the Supreme Court for failing to set up a facility to receive industrial wastes under the Hazardous Wastes Management Rules, 1989.

Gummidipoondi was chosen by the Supreme Court monitoring committee after an earlier site chosen by the Tamil Nadu government in Melakottaiyur had to be abandoned because of public opposition, says an activist agency, the Corporate Accountability Desk.

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