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Women SHGs to intensify stir

News Today Bureau
Chennai, Mar 10:

Six women Self-Help Groups with over 500 members are planning to intensify their stir against the proposed construction of hazardous waste landfill and incinerator in their village by Tamilnadu Waste Management Limited (TNWML), a subsidiary of Hyderabad- based Ramky Group.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Lalitamma, head of Roza Self- Help Group at B R Kandigai, Gummidipoondi, said they had already started a signature campaign in the village to that effect and obtained over 400 signatures to urge Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to scrap the project. The proposed construction will contaminate our water resources.

Unlike other places in Chennai, our tanks and wells are clean and if the water is affected we are going to face great hardship. Till date, no government has helped us in any matter. Can't they at least avoid hurting us. TNWML, which has been trying forcibly to set up the unit since 2005, has already put up an electrified fence around the construction site to ward off the villagers from entering the site,' she said.

The Madras High Court had imposed a ban on the government order sanctioning the construction when the panchayat approached the court claiming that the construction would violate environmental and panchayat laws. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, toxic waste facilities should be located away from water bodies, human habitation and agricultural farms but in case of Gummidipoondi, the government has violated all these norms as the area is known for its rich ground water and a four- acre lake. "It is ironical that the government is spending Rs 200 crore to set up a toxic waste facility that would poison one of its drinking water sources, even while it contemplates spending another Rs 500 crore to set up a desalination plant. In fact in 2004, Metrowater took hundreds of tanker loads of water to cater to Chennai's water demands," Lalitamma said.

The women group had sought an appointment with the Chief Minister to present a memorandum and brief her on the hardship they were going to face with this construction.

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