Mettur 18 April 2007: Around 400 farmers and residents affected by the pollution from the Chemplast Sanmar factory in Mettur today gathered at Kolipannai to launch a protest rally and gate blockade against the company’s human rights and environmental violations. At 8:30am the participants began moving towards the factory gate but the police intervened and prevented them to walk in a procession instead they offered to drive them down in the police van to the factory gate. But the rally participants who got into the police vans were taken to a nearby Kalyana Mandapam (community marriage hall) at Kunjandiyur instead of the factory gate.
Hearing about the police’s move the remaining participants mostly women squatted on the ground until the police agreed to let them proceed with the rally. The rally was stopped again this time 10 meters away from the factory gate. The participants demanded that they be allowed to proceed or be arrested, therefore the remaining participants which included Mr. Kolathur Mani, President of Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Mr. V. Manickam, President of Gonnur Panchayat and Mr. V. Mayilswamy, President of P.N. Patti Panchayat courted arrest.
The residents and farmers demanded the following:
- Chemplast should supply clean water to the villagers.
- Chemplast should remediate the environment and remove toxic waste from inside and around its factory.
- Chemplast should remediate contaminated land and wells.
- Chemplast should adequately compensate for agricultural damage.
- Chemplast should provide health facilities in Mettur.
- Chemplast should revoke new captive power plant proposal.