Mettur, 2 October 2012: Residents of Gonur Panchayat who gathered at the Gandhi Jayanti Grama Sabha today, said they will return their Voter Identification cards and Family Ration cards, if their demands for justice are not met by the State and District Administrations. The President of Gonur Panchayat Mr.Tamizhvaanan and the Chairman of the Nangavalli Panchayat Union Mr.Jivanandam read out a resolution that sought immediate retribution from Chemplast Sanmar Pvt Ltd. The chemicals producer runs five factories in Mettur and has been blamed for polluting farmlands, groundwater and air for more than 5 decades.
Highlighting the extent to which pollution has crippled farm livelihoods, the resolution has initiated a signature campaign. The campaign has addressed its pleas to the District Collector, Salem, to the Tamilnadu Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and to all other concerned governmental agencies, asking for safe drinking water, monetary compensation to farmers, constitution of a participatory monitoring committee and restoration of the ecology at Chemplast’s expense. More than a 100 villagers have already registered their signatures and thumb prints.
Gonur West Agriculturists’ Development Union has offered its support to the elected Panchayat representatives and said it will mobilise information and public opinion to meet the objectives of the resolution. Several scientific studies, both by the Agriculturists Union and Governmental agencies including the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, have confirmed groundwater and soil pollution with several chemicals, many of which can be linked to Chemplast’s operations. However, the district administration and the regulatory agencies have remained culpably inactive despite the overwhelming evidence, public complaints and rallies highlighting serious environmental problems.