West Gonur Farmers Welfare Association
Manickam Complex, Raman Nagar, Mettur Dam 636 403
11 January 2006
CHENNAI/METTUR, 11 January, 2006 — The Loss of Ecology Authority, constituted by the Central Government, has served notice on Chemplast Sanmar Ltd and MALCO Ltd pursuant to complaints by villagers in Mettur that pollution from these companies has rendered their lands unfit for cultivation, and contaminated their groundwater.
On 27 December, 2005, West Gonur Farmers Welfare Association filed a complaint with the Authority on behalf of 80 farmers based on a report prepared by the Indian Peoples Tribunal headed by Justice (Retd) Akbar B. Kadri of the Madras High Court.
Justice Kadris report found that Chemplast and MALCO had indiscriminately disposed toxic wastes in and around their facilities, and that the contamination of wells and lands may have been caused by a “downward spread of contaminants from Chemplasts waste facilities. We also find that the farmers, landless labourers and residents dependent on these lands have not been compensated. Neither has any effort been taken to remediate the environment.”
Red mud dumping by MALCO has resulted in widespread pollution and frequent cattle deaths in Desai Nagar, Thengalvarai and Thippampatti. MALCOs toxic red mud is dumped on the shores of the Mettur Dam, and separated from the reservoir by a flimsy embankment.
Mettur farmers have sought compensation and remediation of contaminated wells and lands from the two companies. They estimate that more than 2000 acres and 800 wells are affected due to pollution. The farmers say that the contamination is caused by the toxic wastes buried within Chemplasts premises. Effects of pollution are particularly visible this year due to unprecedented rains. “The rains have re-activated the springs, and the spring water is leaching out the poisons buried within Chemplast and spreading it out on lands below,” says A. Mani of West Gonur Farmers Welfare Association.
Chemplast and MALCO have been given until 27 January, 2006 to respond to the notice as to why the claim of compensation by the farmers should not be assessed and awarded. In the absence of a response within the stipulated time, the Authority will decide the matter ex-parte.
For more information, contact:
G. Madheswaran. Cell: 9443565476
In Chennai, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman: 9444082401
Read the letter of notice:
Loss of Ecology (Prevention and Payment of Compensation) Authority for the State of Tamilnadu