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Residents take to the streets

Saptarshi Bhattacharya
THE HINDU
18 April, 2005

Protesters want government to drop move The protest against hazardous disposal waste at Gummidipoondi turned into a massive citizens rally in the village.

GUMMIDIPOONDI (THIRUVALLUR DISTRICT): Villagers around the Gummidipoondi industrial estate today reiterated that they do no want a treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF) for hazardous wastes at their doorstep, as it would threaten their environs and public health.

Hundreds of residents and environment activists, including several women, poured into the streets of Gummidipoondi, about 45 km north of Chennai, for a rally highlighting the threat to their lives and livelihood due to the proposed facility.

At a meeting that followed, they passed a unanimous resolution demanding that the decision to construct the facility at the site be dropped.

The TSDF threatened the air and water in the area that could lead to health hazards for the residents living around the facility.

Threat to aquifer

The groundwater aquifer, which the residents said was at a depth of around 10 feet, would be severely threatened by leachate from the proposed landfill. Last summer, the Metrowater drew several lakh litres of water to supply to Chennai, they added.

Putting forward their arguments against the site selection, the residents said habitations and agricultural lands were situated with 500 metres of the proposed facility.

Smoke from the incinerator could emit harmful chemicals that could impact on human and animal health if there is prolonged exposure.

Even the residents of Melakottaiyur village in Kancheepuram District had rejected the project and the government had to drop it, they added.

The residents of several villages, including S.R. Kandigai, Pattupalayam, New Gummidipoondi, Pethikuppam, Gummidipoondi, Kavarapettai, Nagaraja Kandigai, Periyapalayam, and members of Tamilnadu Women's Collective, Pasumai Thayagam, Lions Club of Gummidipoondi, DYFI and Gram Pengal Munnani-Thiruvallur participated at the rally.

Panchayat resolution

The Gummidipoondi Panchayat Union had on Wednesday passed a unanimous resolution expressing its opposition to the proposed TSDF to be constructed at the SIPCOT Industrial Estate in Gummidipoondi.

The resolution has been conveyed to the Collector of Thiruvallur District.

A section of the residents were also angry because they were yet to receive compensation for their lands when the SIPCOT Industrial Estate came up in 1984.

The issue is caught up in litigation.

The residents vowed to continue with their struggle against the proposed project.

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