Cuddalore 27 April 2009: Local monitors report that delay from the TNPCB in taking action on the illegal operations of Aurobindo Pharma may have helped the unit cover up its illegalities and escape punishment. According to the sources the unit has been producing a chemical (7AVMA) without valid permissions under the Consent to Establish and Operate for the past few months. On the evening of 22 April 2009 Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation (CDCPO) brought this illegality to the notice of the DEE Cuddalore through a fax. In its letter CDCPO also mentioned that the unit had constructed a 500 tonne storage tank as opposed to the 100 tonnes permitted by the TNPCB. Even though the DEE was alerted about this illegality in the evening of 22nd April, he did not make a site visit to investigate the complaint until the evening of the 24th April thus giving time to the unit to cover its tracks. After visiting the unit the DEE informed the complainant on the phone that the unit had undertaken trial runs of the product without valid permission but did not mention or assure about his course of action on the unit for this violation. Even after the site visit no action has been taken on the unit so far.
Moreover it is now learnt from the workers inside the unit that on the evening of 26th April 2009, the unit illegally transported one tanker lorry of the chemical (7AVMA) to Banguluru to escape punishment. Residents believe that the delay in the investigations and action of TNPCB officials have led to this situation where the unit has adopted measures to cover up its illegalities and is likely to escape punishment.
Illegal operations and delay in the action of the TNPCB has been highlighted in several cases before. This case merely reinforces the lack of political will of the TNPCB to take action on the violators. A complaint on this incident has been filed with the Chairperson of TNPCB specifically demanding enquiry on the role of the DEE in implementing the environmental law in the SIPCOT region.