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Cycle rally to mark Bhopal tragedy

THE HINDU, 29 November 2006
Special Correspondent

To create awareness on need for safe industries

CUDDALORE: A cycle rally, from Cuddalore to Chennai, was flagged off on Tuesday by Kolathur Mani, Periyar Dravida Kazhagam leader, to mark the Bhopal gas leak disaster (occurred on December 3,1984) and to protest against the concentration of pollution causing units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here.

The rally, in which 20 cyclists are participating, is intended to create awareness among the people about the need for safe industries that will not defile environment.

The rallyists will pedal their way through Puducherry, Tindivanam, Chengalpattu and reach Chennai on December 3. On December 4, a conference will be held in Chennai , focussing on the environmental degradation caused by various industries, with particular reference to Cuddalore.

Addressing the rallyists, Mr. Kolathur Mani said because of serious pollution it would not be an exaggeration to term Cuddalore as another Bhopal in the making. Mettur too was facing a similar predicament, because of the proliferation of the pollution causing units.

Mr. Mani called upon the State Government to strictly enforce the pollution control rules. For the sake of providing 300-500 jobs, the lives of five lakh families should not be put at peril. Instead, the Government should promote environment-friendly and labour-intensive industries.

Chairman of District Environmental Protection Organisation for Right Tackling (DEPORT) M. Nizamudeen said the existing chemical units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate had already caused irreparable damage to air, soil and water.

Despite the directive of the Supreme Court, the NEERI and other agencies, no efforts seemed to have been made to check pollution.

Mr. Nizamudeen further said the proposal to set up a polyvinyl chloride factory, an oil refinery and a textile park in the industrial estate would further aggravate the pollution problem.

Those, who support the rally, include the SIPCOT Community Social and Environmental Monitoring Group, Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, The Other Media, Exnora, and Meenavar Viduthalai Vengaigal.

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