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Freeze opening of new industrial units: environmentalists

Dec. 7, 2013

A.V.RAGUNATHAN
The Hindu

Cuddalore: Environmentalists, local community and consumer activists have faulted the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for having lifted the moratorium on opening new industrial units and expansion of the existing units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here. They argue that when the pollution indicator in the industrial estate is hovering at a critical level there is no justification in lifting the moratorium.

The commitments made by the industrial units and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to keep the pollution level within the permissible level remains only on paper, while the ground reality is different. Therefore, they also seek closure of those units that fail to conform to pollution control norms. These demands were made by the representatives of the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring (SACEM) and the Consumer Federation Tamil Nadu (CONFET). M.Nisamudeen of CONFET and T.Arul Selvam of the SACEM told presspersons here today that based on a study on the extent of air, water and land pollution in the industrial estate the Central Pollution Control Board and the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, had jointly prepared the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI).

The CEPI had put the scores for Cuddalore as follows: -- 2009 77.45 points, 2011 78.41 points and 2013 70.12 points. They emphatically said that any value above 50 was clearly indicative of a critically polluted area.

The mandatory action plan prepared by the SIPCOT Industries Association and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and submitted to the Central Pollution Control Board in 2010 proclaimed that all steps would be taken to peg the pollution level at 54.69 points.

But the current index showed that till now it remained just a promise. They also alleged that during inspection the units used to adopt the strategy of either cutting down production or diluting the effluents to show lower pollution index.

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