Chennai, 25 March 2011: A delegation of residents from SIPCOT Cuddalore met the Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the Joint Chief Environment Engineer TNPCB to express their concerns about the ongoing environmental violations by the industries in the SIPCOT region especially in the context of the recent gas leak from Shasun Chemicals.
The community members at the meeting reiterated that the accident at Shasun was not merely an accident but an incident that was bound to happen and reflected the systematic failure of TNPCB in taking action on the irregularities of the unit. The representatives also demanded strict legal action including prosecution of the directors of Shasun Chemicals for operating their factory without a valid Consent to Operate (CtO). While discussing the absence of CtO the JCEE also informed that TNPCB is looking into the matter and that the unit did not even have Consent to store Bromine in its facility. It was the Bromine section of the storage unit that caused fire and leak that affected more than 300 persons in SIPCOT region on March 7 this month.
Apart from Shasun, the representatives also discussed in general the problems of pollution, regular violations of environmental provisions such as discharge of effluents, gas leaks and contamination of groundwater in the SIPCOT region. They also expressed their concern over the fact that there were several units in SIPCOT Cuddalore that were operating without a valid Consent to Operate and pose a serious threat to the environment and health of the residents.
The residents also brought to the notice of the officials their problems with the local Board officials in Cuddalore. They expressed their frustrations at the fact that the local officials were hostile towards their complaints and till date have never shared any data or document about pollution, chemicals and industries with the local communities. They urged the senior officials at Chennai to immediately intervene in the matter and ensure that the Board officials in Cuddalore are more receptive to their complaints and share data that affects environment and public health regularly.
The meeting went on for about half an hour and the Member Secretary and JCEE ensured that all demands of the community members would be looked into and responded adequately.