28 January, 2005
On 24 January, 2005, the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee directed the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board to notify the Local Area Environment Committee (LAEC) in Cuddalore. On 27 January, 2005, the members of the LAEC were intimated. The LAEC includes two members from the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors — Mr. S. Pugazhenthi (Sangolikuppam village) and Mr. S. Ramanathan (Semmankuppam village) — and one of the program advisors, Mr. M. Nizamudeen. Advocate T. Mohan of Chennai is the chairperson of the Committee. Other members include: Dr. K. Narayanan, Director, EHS Consultants, Chennai; Prof. V. Ramamurthi, HOD Chemical Engineering, AC College of Technology, Anna University; and an official of the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board.
The LAEC will have the following Terms of Reference:
- Verify compliance with the Apex Court order dated 14.10.2003 requiring the erection of display boards (6x4ft) with relevant and updated information in Tamil and English at the main gate of all industries visible to all members of the public in the vicinity, and cite violations. The display information should include the Consent for Operating (CFO) and data on air emission, water discharges and solid waste.
- Verify compliance of industries under various pollution control enactments having relevance to hazardous wastes, and recommend measures to reduce or eliminate air pollution hazards — particularly, volatile organics and sulphur compounds. If the LAEC feels that if any unit is unwilling or does not have the capacity to minimise the discharge of hazardous air pollutants, it is free to recommend its closure.
- The Committee can, among other sources, draw on the trained SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors for identifying, monitoring and reporting environmental problems in and around the industrial estate, and associate their experience/expertise in sampling air pollution incidents.
- Carry out or cause to carry out environmental audit (Third party audit) of industries within and in the vicinity of SIPCOT, Cuddalore. The environmental audit may cover raw materials, products, production processes, waste generation, compliance with environmental laws, waste disposal practices, illegal discharges into air, water or land etc. This exercise may take into account already existing/on-going studies on pollution and health impacts in SIPCOT, Cuddalore, with a view to a) developing an initial (baseline) occupational and community health study, as a forerunner for a comprehensive long-term — time-series study and b) assessing the carrying capacity of the industrial estate, especially with reference to new proposals including expansion. This audit should commence immediately with the five industries that are believed to be major sources of air pollution and establish baseline data.
- Suggest ways to detect violations of environmental laws by opening channels of communication with communities and workers, and promoting community environmental monitoring as per the directions of the apex court at para 55 of its order dated 14.10.2003.
- Interact with TNPCB and SIPCOT in addressing the problem of existing hazardous wastes and recommend time-bound systems and programs of clean production to reduce quantum and toxicity of hazardous waste generation in terms of 8(ii) of the HW Rules, 1989, as amended.
Rules of Business for the LAEC:
- The LAEC shall observe/consider the basic principles of natural justice, transparency, relevant scientific data, various pollution prevention and control measures, and objections from affected parties/stakeholders particularly workers and communities before arriving at findings/conclusions.
- The Committee shall be assisted by the TNPCB to procure from any employer/establishment/competent officer therein such information or access to samples for analysis as may be required by it for performing its functions. Requests for such information from the LAEC should be treated as if they have been made by the SCMC.
- The scope of the Committee shall extend to the industries in SIPCOT and in the immediate vicinity.
- The Central Pollution Control Board will keep the LAEC abreast of its air monitoring programs in the area and consult it where necessary.
- Deliberations of the Committee shall be held in Tamil and English with due attention paid to ensuring that non-English speaking members are fully involved in the discussions. Translator assistance may be provided by TNPCB as required.
- All the expenses of the LAEC (including travel of its members) will be met by the TN Pollution Control Board raising additional resources with contributions from the industry on Polluter Pays principle.
- Copies of consents and authorisations issued to the units in the subject area as well as a complete list of authorised industries of the area shall be provided to the LAEC by TNPCB as required.
- Any report, minutes etc of any previous committee that was set up by the TNPCB for the purpose after the visit of the SCMC will form a part of the record of the LAEC.
Term of the LAEC will be till July 31, 2005. . .
Signed. Dr. G. Thyagarajan, Chairman, SCMC