Mettur, 24 October, 2005: A team of three lawyers and recent law graduates visited Mettur on 22-23 October, 2005, to conduct a legal aid camp aimed at assisting victims of pollution in seeking legal redressal including compensation. More than 150 claims were registered from among the 400 or so villagers that attended the camp. The team from public interest legal aid group Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) came upon the invitation of Mettur-based West Konur Farmers Welfare Association and the Community Environmental Monitoring. The camp was organized as a follow-up to the July 2005 release of the Indian People’s Tribunal report on environmental and human rights violations by Chemplast and Malco in Mettur.
HRLN team registering claims by farmers affected by
pollution from Chemplast Sanmar’s chemical factories.
The camp began with an hour-long awareness session. Given the hostile attitude of the police against the villagers, Adv. Diwakar of HRLN briefed the gathered farmers on civil liberties, and their constitutional rights. Mr. Vijay Kanhere and Mr. Prahlad Malavadkar of Mumbai-based Occupational Health and Safety Committee explained to villagers about the rights of workers to a safe workplace. Malavadkar and Kanhere have assisted numerous workers in obtaining compensation and other facilities guaranteed them under the Employee State Insurance Act.
Adv. D. Geetha of HRLN highlighted the various environmental laws and the options available to pollution impacted communities to seek redressal using these.
While most of the claims filed on the two days sought compensation for contaminated agricultural lands and wells, victims of industrial accidents (both workers and community members) also proferred claims.
Read about the Indian People’s Tribunal report on Mettur here