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Compensation given to people hit by molasses spillage inadequate, says CPI leader

Special Correspondent
The Hindu
23 Febbruary 2007

Farmers' wing plans to stage demonstrations at eight places on March 1

CUDDALORE: District secretary of the Communist Party of India T. Manivasagam has said that the compensation given to those affected by the recent spillage of molasses from a private company at Kadampuliyur near Panruti is inadequate.

When the storage tank on the premises of the company producing industrial alcohol burst, the molasses ran on to the nearby cashew groves and on to the roads.

It reportedly spoiled the cashew crop on over 10 acres and at least 33 people sustained injuries. While farmers had been given compensation ranging from Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000 an acre, the injured had been given Rs.3,500 each. Mr. Manivasagam told The Hindu that the size of the compensation, decided at the intervention of certain political leaders, had been decided arbitrarily.

The CPI leader had met the Collector, Rajendra Ratnoo, and impressed upon him the need for conducting a scientific study before arriving at the quantum of the compensation. The inquiry conducted by the Revenue Divisional Officer had not made any headway. According to sources in the office of the Inspector of Factories, the tank gave way owing to defects in its design.

Mr. Manivasagam said the residue of the molasses supplied by the company as "fertiliser" to the farmers in villages such as Melmampattu, Sathupattu, Nellithoppu, Sirugramam and Veerappar had harmful effects when used repeatedly.

The groundwater had become discoloured and odorous, he said.

Stressing this point, the members of the CPI farmers' wing would stage demonstrations at eight places on March 1, Mr. Manivasagam added.

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