CUDDALORE, 20 June, 2009 – SIPCOT villages suffering from shortage of drinking water due to overdrawal of water by SIPCOT and groundwater pollution should be given clean water from the Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage Board’s joint water project. Any expense for the same should be recovered from SIPCOT industries, said the Cuddalore district collector during a quarterly meeting on health, environment and safety issues of the SIPCOT industrial area held on 18 June, 2009. Attended by elected village representatives, SACEM members, SIPCOT and Factories Inspectorate officials and industry representatives, the meeting covered a range of topics from state of pollution in SIPCOT to progress made on issues discussed at the previous meeting in February 2009.
The Inspector of Factories said that onsite emergency drills had been carried out in 11 industries, and an offsite emergency drill was to be carried out on 3 July. SACEM had complained several times to the authorities about the failure of industries to submit disaster response plans or conduct emergency training. Such training is required under the Factories Act and the Manufacture, Storage, Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989.
In response to an earlier demand by village elected representatives for a detailed report on local employment generated by SIPCOT industries, SIPCOT officials shared a report based on data provided by the Human Resource Departments of various industries. The elected representatives expressed dissatisfaction with the level of detail in the report, and urged the industry to return with detailed information including names of persons employed from each village.
SACEM and village representatives highlighted the high levels of pollution, and the failure of the Board to rein in the pollution. They said Tagros had expanded illegally, and continued to dump toxic wastes indiscriminately within its compound. A large pond near the factory is now totally contaminated as a result, they said.
Air pollution from SPIC was reportedly very high, and hazardous wastes are unsafely stored in Loyal, village leaders said. They also pointed out that Aurobindo Pharma was manufacturing products not consented by the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board.
The Collector also indicated that arrangements would be made for a 24-hour hospital and ambulance in SIPCOT.