August 23, 2010
An overwhelming opposition to the proposed common hazardous waste facility at the Perundurai SIPCOT industrial estate greeted officials who turned up for a public hearing on July 28.
The atmosphere in the entire town was charged, with posters slamming the project, put up by radical leftist outfits, lining every inch of available space.
Over 50 people spoke out at the hearing on the proposal to dump 28,900 tonne of waste from nine districts on a 50-acre land. Nobody spoke up in its support.
The hearing was convened by Collector R Sudalaikannan and TNPCB divisional engineer Muthukani. The `25-crore project, was mooted by a private concern Tamil Nadu Waste Management Association to dump the waste of Namakkal, Nilgiris, Erode, Karur, Salem, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore and Tirupur at Perundurai.
Significantly, even the political bigwigs were with the public. DMK district in charge and ex-minister N K K Periyasamy opposed the project stating that the textile dyeing units there were already causing pollution at the SIPCOT. At first, you submit a report on the present problems in SIPCOT and then suggest a common hazardous waste facility, he said while opposing the plan. MLAs Vidiyal Sekar (Congress), C Ponnudurai (AIADMK), Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam leaders C Rathnasamy, S Periyasamy and Selvam, CPI district secretary V P Gunasekaran and a host of social activists opposed it.
Sources said the few who had turned up to back the project returned after seeing the public fury. The hearing was held from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm without a break.
Sensing the public mood, company director Ramadoss went into damage control mode and clarified that only industrial wastes from Erode would be dumped in the pits as per the design created by IIT. He justified that several common hazardous waste facilities were functioning in many states, including one at Gummudipoondi near Chennai.