Highways department damages CUSECS pipeline; SIPCOT village pond contaminated with effluents

Cuddalore, 29 April, 2007: A construction work carried on by the Highways Department damaged the CUSECS pipeline between CUSECS 2 and 3 causing effluent discharge into a local pond in SIPCOT Cuddalore. The incident occurred on 28 April around 6 pm when the highways department personnel were carrying repair work on ECR Cuddalore-Chidambaram highway near Colix Beverages in SIPCOT. According to the local eye witnesses the effluent water from CUSECS pipeline gushed into the nearby pond 'Tamarai Kollam' at the entrance of Periyakaraikadu village in Kudikadu panchayat, the effluent was light yellow in colour and had a strong rotten dead body odour to it. The matter was brought to the notice to the local TNPCB office and the District Environmental Engineer (DEE) tried to regulate the effluent flow in the pipeline by requesting the units to stop effluent discharge until the problem was rectified. According to the local reports the effluent continued to flow in the lake even a day after the pipeline was damaged, clearly indicating that the industries carried on with the effluent discharge.

The incident caused a lot of uproar among the residents of SIPCOT who constantly use the water from the pond for washing and cleaning purposes. The villagers are demanding that while the CUSECS pipeline is repaired the pond should also be cleaned and the soil inside the pond should be changed. The TNPCB officials have refused to comment on the impact of the effluent on the pond water quality and instead taken a sample of the water for further analysis. Fear are being expressed that the Sangolikuppam bore-well intake which is less than five meters from the pond will also be contaminated after the incident.