Saturday, December 30, 2006
Two weeks back former US President Bill Clinton, who visited Cuddalore as a UN special envoy for tsunami relief, greatly applauded the active steps taken by our district administrator Mr. Gagadeep Singh Bedi. India's over all response to the tsunami disaster work was good. But what has happened in Cuddalore in the past two years was excellent. It is because of our dynamic collector Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Cuddalore has seen such an immense reconstruction in the post disaster period. According to Clinton, providing housing was "the hardest thing to do". He added while in other places only 30% of the houses were built, "In Cuddalore, even those not affected by the tsunami but identified as "vulnerable" had been given houses." He went on to say "Florida can learn from Cuddalore" and that he want Cuddalore model of disaster management to be implemented throughout the world.
"Florida can learn from Cuddalore" simply means, administrators of Florida must learn from the administrator of Cuddalore. His work of coordinating and directing various governmental and non-grovernmental organisations in post tsunami period was phenomenal. If Cuddalore has got so much, it is because of this "good man here".
When rest of the tsunami affected world is still in their early stages of tsunami reconstruction, Cuddalore had almost come to the final stages of the work, Tsunami Retention Wall for the vulnerable communities along the coast line . Work for the construction of tsunami retention wall has begun in full swing. Fishing villages in Cuddalore district will soon get rid of the fear of tsunami.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Switzerland's World number one tennis player and UNICEF Ambassador Roger Federer (R) holds a cricket bat while shaking hands with a child during a visit to the tsunami affected village of Kinnur Pudupettai, some 180kms south of Chennai, 23 December 2006. Over 200,000 people lost their lives in the 2004 tsunami which hit the Indian Ocean coastline, 8,000 of them in Tamil Nadu. UNICEF has been working on relief and recovery in 8 countries since the tsunami struck, building shelters but also steering programmes in health and nutrition, drinking water, education and child protection.
Roger Federer visits Cuddalore - Sahara Samay
Federer visits Cuddalore, promises to return - Sify Sports
Federer's visit fans waves of hope - IndiaTimes Sports
Embajador de la UNICEF - SIPSE
Federer besucht UNICEF-Projekte in Indien - AZ Online
Federer meets tsunami-affected kids - IBN Live
Federer's goodwill to India - ITN News
Federer besucht Tsunami-Opfer in Indien - Schweizer Fernsehen
Federer plays cricket - Sky News
FEDERER EMBAJADOR DE UNICEF - La Opinion (scroll down the page)
Federer's goodwill to India - Channel4
Federer plays cricket to tsunami survivors' delight - Scotsman & Gulf Times
Roger Federer visite des survivants du tsunami - LCN
Federer plays cricket with Indian tsunami survivors - The Peninsula
On his first official field trip as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, ATP World number one Roger Federer today met with tsunami-affected children in Tamil Nadu in southern India.
The December 2004 tsunami took the lives of over 200,000 people, with India accounting for 18,000 dead or missing. One-third of the victims were children. Tamil Nadu was the hardest hit state, with 8,000 dead, 351 severely-damaged child care centers and 186 destroyed schools. Three days before the second anniversary of the tsunami, Federer visited UNICEF's
recovery and rehabilitation programmes in Cuddalore, one of the worst affected districts of Tamil Nadu.
"It's amazing to see how young people are using the rebuilding process as an opportunity to improve their lives and strengthen their community," said Federer. "The way these children are bouncing back from even the toughest tragedy is a testament to their resiliency."
In Cuddalore, Federer met with children who have chairs and tables at school for the first time. Across the tsunami-hit districts of Tamil Nadu UNICEF has provided 330 schools with furniture and learning materials, which benefit around 140,000 children and 3,500 teachers.The improvements in their school include programmes to learn through participation rather
than by rote and the use of puppet theatre to help them cope with post-tsunami trauma. Federer also met with UNICEF- trained early child care workers at one of the 351 restored government centres where pre-school children are able to get essential health care, nutrition supplements and informal early education. .
Along with District Collector Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Federer visited the Cuddalore Orphanage. UNICEF has helped to establish a tracking system to monitor around 2,000 children in Tamil Nadu who lost one or both parents in the tsunami, including those in the orphanage. As part of the tsunami psycho social support programme more than 114,000 children have been reached through counseling, art, puppetry and children's theatre.
"Many of the programmes we set up in the tsunami hit communities, such as education programmes and child protection interventions, will now serve as a model for the rest of the state to follow," said Thomas George, UNICEF State Representative, Tamil Nadu. "Our focus has been to improve equity to services and to truly build back better for the children of Tamil Nadu."
Federer's day ended by meeting with teenagers who are learning about HIV through a life-skills programme that is giving them the practical information they need to make responsible decisions and spread awareness about the disease.
"It's great to see the young people so full of life and spirit. Despite what happened to their community, they have really managed to turn things around," said Federer.
CUDDALORE, India, 22 December 2006 – Just days before the second anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, tennis great and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Roger Federer visited Tamil Nadu, India, witnessing firsthand the progress made to help tsunami-affected communities ‘build back better’.
The tsunami killed some 8,000 people in Tamil Nadu alone, destroyed nearly 200 schools and damaged more than 350 child care centres. On his first field trip since becoming a Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Federer toured UNICEF-supported recovery and rehabilitation programmes in Cuddalore, a district devastated by the tsunami.
He met with many schoolchildren who, for the first time, have chairs and tables in their classrooms. As part of the recovery effort, new furniture and learning materials have been provided to 330 schools, benefiting some 40,000 children and 3,500 teachers.
Apart from the improved leaning environment, Mr. Federer also saw new ‘child-friendly’ learning and teaching methods being introduced in the schools.
Another post-tsunami initiative here – psycho-social support for traumatized children – has reached more than 114,000 children through counselling, art, puppetry and children’s theatre.
“It’s amazing to see how young people are using the rebuilding process as an opportunity to improve their lives and strengthen their community,” said Mr. Federer. “The way these children are bouncing back from even the toughest tragedy is a testament to their resiliency.”
Ms. Federer went on to visit an early childhood centre, one of the 351 such facilities rehabilitated with UNICEF’s support. The centre is equipped to provide young children with education, nutritious meals and basic health care.
Along with District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Mr. Federer also met with the children in the Cuddalore Orphanage. UNICEF has helped establish a tracking system to monitor and protect some 2,000 children, including those in the orphanage, who lost one or both of their parents in the tsunami.
Education and child protection
“Our focus has been to improve equity to services and to truly build back better for the children of Tamil Nadu,” said UNICEF’s State Representative in Tamil Nadu, Thomas George. “Many of the programmes we set up in the tsunami-hit communities, such as education programmes and child protection interventions, will now serve as a model for the rest of the state to follow.”
Mr. Federer’s first day in Tamil Nadu ended with him meeting young people at a life skills workshop, which offered practical information to help them make responsible decisions – such as better protecting themselves from HIV/AIDS and educating others about the disease.
“It’s great to see the young people so full of life and spirit,” remarked Mr. Federer. “Despite what happened to their community, they have really managed to turn things around.”
As part of his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, the world number one toured the state of Tamil Nadu, which was hit hardest by the disaster.
With another success laden season behind him, Roger Federer has used some of his precious time off to visit the tsunami-struck region of Tamil Nadu in southern India.
In his first official trip since becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the world number one toured
Cuddalore, one of the worst hit areas by the disaster two years ago.
The Swiss was able to see for himself how reconstruction efforts are progressing:
"I'm very happy that the kids are well taken care of, and very happy to be here and I wish them all the best.": Roger Federer.
Federer was accompanied by his girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec as they visited a school and orphanage, where victims of the tsunami are still coming to terms with what happened that fateful day.
The December 2004 tsunami killed over 200,000 people, with India accounting for 18,000 dead or missing - one third of the victims were children.
Federer declared himself inspired by the resilience shown by the children of Cuddalore, by their ability to bounce back from the toughest tragedy.
Clearly, the visit of the tennis superstar will help provide some inspiration to the people of Tamil Nadu as well.
CUDDALORE: Nobody can resist a game of cricket in India, not even Roger Federer, the World's Number One tennis player. He picked up a few tips on how to wield the willow in a game of cricket from tsunami-affected children of Chinnurpudupettai village near here on Saturday.
"When we asked him if he would play a game of cricket with us, he said that he didn't know to play the game. And so we taught him how to hold a bat and strike a ball," a beaming Prasad of Chinnurpudupettai said.
After listening to the rules of the game for a few minutes, Mr. Federer then faced 11 balls of local boy Madhan. He was beaten in the first ball and bowled out thrice in his short stint at the crease.
And in return, he gave the children cards that hadhis photograph holding a trophy. He also signed on the tennis ball with which he was playing cricket and presented it to a child. Till two days ago, the children had not heard about Mr. Federer and his game.
As UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Federer was in the village to call on Krishnamurthi, whose wife was washed away by the waves. His five children are at a government-run orphanage in Cuddalore.
Krishnamurthi, who married again recently, now lives in the Tsunami Nagar, built by SOS, at Chinnurpudupettai. The Swiss tennis star visited his house, which was full of photographs of the five girls and Krishnamurthi's late wife. Mr. Federer spent a few minutes in the house. He then watched a theatre performance by the children.
LOVE ALL: Tennis World Number One Roger Federer, who is UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador, converses with children at a government-run orphanage in tsunami-affected Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu on Friday. Federer, on his first visit to India, promised to come "again and again" and said the children had inspired him to raise more funds for tsunami rehabilitation. — Photo: R. Ragu
CUDDALORE: Tennis ace Roger Federer discovered a whole new meaning for `Love All' in Cuddalore on Friday, when he learnt "one of life's most important lessons" from tsunami orphans.
"These children have taught me how lucky I am, making the incredible amount of money I do at the prime of my career. It was mutual love between us as I inspired them and they inspired me back to raise more funds and create awareness about tsunami rehabilitation.
"It is heartening to learn that things have improved tremendously in Cuddalore in the last two years. I shall keep coming here again and again," Federer, who was in Cuddalore as UNICEF's goodwill ambassador said. This is his first visit to India.
Federer struck an instant rapport with the 70-odd children at the orphanage — many of whom had never heard of him before — and spent more than an hour answering all their questions. "Now I know everything about them — their names, their age, lessons and friends."
Three-year-old Abhinaya instantly won his heart. The little girl spontaneously flung herself into his arms and remained there for the rest of his stay.
"India can be very proud of its tsunami recovery programme. It has been an extremely emotional experience for me. I shall now try to raise more funds for the rehabilitation effort," he said.
The champion of nine Grand Slams, however, refused to answer any questions on his game and merely said, "I have some thoughts on how I could use the Roger Federer Foundation in tennis-for-charity to help disadvantaged children."
Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi explained the progress made so far in tsunami rehabilitation in the State.
Federer also visited the Integrated Child Development Scheme Centre at Thazhanguda village and sat through a puppetry show by children on HIV awareness.
Federer's visit was, however, marked by drama outside the orphanage as UNICEF representatives were mobbed by reporters who were denied access to cover the champion's visit. Federer was whisked away by security personnel and left for Villupuram to know about the tsunami recovery programme there.
Federer was appointed UNICEF's goodwill ambassador in 2006 and has, since then, helped in several fund-raising initiatives.
In the following posts I will add links to news articles which as reported in various media and add full text from the reputed sources.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Pain captured thru' pictures - News Today
Cuddalore: A Bhopal in Chennai's backyard in New Kerala, Telugu Portal and RxPG News Westchester,CA,USA.
Tatas may acquire 26% stake in Nagarjuna refinery for Rs 400cr - The Economic Times
Monday December 18 2006
CUDDALORE: The salinity in the Bay of Bengal has shot up alarmingly, almost equivalent to that of the Dead Sea post tsunami, according to a study conducted by Plus One students of a private school.
In the chemical composition of soil saturation extracts, concentration of sodium and bicarbonates was found higher. The pH value has increased from 5.8 to 8.40 in the wake of tsunami, which struck the coast on December 26, 2004. Besides this the electrical conductivity has also risen from 3.9 to 4.60 dsm.
Another observation of the students is that the normal colour of the sea has changed from sky blue to black. According to the students, it may be due to the presence of archebacteria, under-ocean bacteria, and other liquid secreted by fish. Rocky ocean surface has become shallow. Another finding is that the Bay of Bengal has become an abode of rare and new fish species; marine species, normally found in Pacific Ocean and other oceans, were found in the Bay of Bengal.
A fish - plataxteira, usually found at a depth of 3 metres below the surface of sea water, has moved to the Bay from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; they are new to the Coromandel coast. A number of invertebrates - crustaceans, molluscans, worms and algae were also found at the Pudumandabam coast.
Similarly, puffer fish, found around Australian coast, red crab, ornamental fish varieties - parrot fish, angel fish, clown fish and butterfly fish- were found in the sea bed. The number of seer fish (Vanjaram), promfet fish (vawal), murrel (virral), flat fish (nakku meen) and flying fish (kola meen) has decreased.
As part of the research, the students travelled more than 100 km along the coastline and contacted more than 400 fishermen.
The research paper, ‘Changes in aquatic life after tsunami in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu’ by five students of Krishnasamy Memorial Matriculation Higher Secondary School, was selected for a State-level Children Science Congress. Biology students - K Susidar, R Yugadev, K Dinakaran and Mohamed Salim- presented the copy to District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi. Correspondent Dr K Rajendran, principal R Natarajan and teacher Shanthi Pandian were also present on the occasion.
The study was carried out by Plus One students of a private school in Cuddalore.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
This place is easily accessible from many parts of the town which makes it suitable site for public buildings and government offices. This is a potential place for the proposed Integrated Courts Complex and an Integrated Offices Complex. An Integrated Offices Complex may help shift the offices functioning in rented buildings. It would be a great relief for various departments which pays huge sum as rent.
The development of the locality must be planned and a design layout must be drafted out to guide the development. The place is also suitable for bringing up commercial establishments. Government can even come up with a multistoryed market similar to the one proposed for Erode.
As a first step to increase the more activity along this stretch, 'Share Auto' service and the bus service must be introduced.
A long sighted initiative must be taken for traffic planning. Necessary land must be acquired and reserved along the road and railway routes, before the value of the land sores up.
As the value of the land rises encroachments becomes an major issue. Real estate owners tries to make most of the land: their own land and the public land. Already some of them have illegally occupied the river bank with help of corrupt officials. This illegal occupation is done along the south west corner of the bridge, which is shown in photo. Note: The photograph was taken several months back, now the place looks completely different.
Note: The above photos were taken several months back
Gedilam bank to be raised - The Hindu
Bridge across Gedilam coming up: Bedi - The Hindu
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
During an interview with a TV station a day before the incident, Gurubalan had expressed his intention to support the Cuddalore community’s campaign against pollution by reaching out to more youngsters in Chennai.
“Being the kind of person he is, Guru would not have wanted his death to put the brakes on such an important environmental tour for justice. For sure, more youth from Chennai will rally around and join the cycle tour for Cuddalore as and when it resumes,” said Guru’s friend Anushka Meenakshi who was also one of the cyclists.
Cuddalore is a toxic hotspot, where existing industries have made life unlivable. Rather than mitigate pollution, the Government is planning to target Cuddalore residents with more and more polluting industries. Currently, the villagers are fighting a desperate battle to prevent the setting up of a PVC plastic factory by Chemplast Sanmar in Semmankuppam village. A 4000 MW thermal power plant, several textile dyeing industries, a 6 million tonnes per annum oil refinery and two schemes to pump toxic effluents from textile dyeing and leather tannery units are part of the industrial plans for Cuddalore.
Organisers and participants of the cycle tour have resolved that they will resume the cycle tour in January. In the interim, they plan to organize a first-aid training for youth and activists in Chennai. On 16 December, a seminar on “Ongoing Human Rights Violations in SIPCOT Cuddalore” will be held at the Madras Institute of Development Studies. On the same day, all cyclists and their supporters from Chennai will meet to discuss plans for resuming the cycle awareness tour, and strengthen the struggles for environmental justice in Cuddalore, Mettur and other pollution-impacted communities.
For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman. 9444082401
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal; The Other Media; Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, Youth for Social Change, SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring, DEPORT.
42A, 1st Floor, 5th Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600090
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Clinton visits tsunami hit hamlet in TN - The Hindu
Clinton asks Lanka and LTTE to choose politics over violence - Zee news
Clinton to make final visit to tsunami-affected countries as U.N. envoy - The International Herald Tribune
Clinton asks Lanka and LTTE to choose politics over violence - Zee News
Clinton to visit tsunami affected areas in Dec - The Times of India (published prior to the visit)
Clinton cosies up to Chennai - The Hindu
Clinton lauds India's tsunami relief efforts - IndiaMuslims.info
TN a model for tsunami rehab: Clinton - ChennaiOnline
Bill Clinton praises India's tsunami rehabilitation works - New Kerala
Bill Clinton Lauds Tsunami Relief Efforts - The News is NowPublic
New & Just In-Clinton Visits TamilNadu - BuckleUpNow
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, second from right, stands amidst puppets controlled by tsunami affected children at a rebuilt school at Thazanguda in Cuddalore district, around 165 kilometers (103 miles) south of Chennai, India, Friday, Dec. 1, 2006. Hundreds of villagers lined the streets of a coastal hamlet in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu Friday as Clinton, the top U.N. envoy for the tsunami recovery effort, visited homes built to replace those washed away by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The tsunami destroyed nearly 130 homes in Thazanguda, leaving many of the fishing community's 2,600 residents homeless. (AP Photo/ M.Lakshman)
Former US President Bill Clinton has visited the region of southern India worst hit by the 2004 tsunami.
Mr Clinton, a UN special envoy for tsunami relief, visited new
homes and a school for tsunami victims in Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu state.
He also visited a cyclone shelter with a newly installed warning system and witness a mock drill.
The tsunami killed more than 6,000 people in the area and affected at least 200,000.
Mr Clinton is also due to visit Thailand and Indonesia, where the tsunami killed tens of thousands of people during his final visit to the tsunami affected areas as an UN envoy, a statement issued by his office said.
Mr Clinton had visited the region last May and met with survivors.
On Monday, the ex-US president announced to make HIV/Aids treatment cheaper for children at a function in the Indian capital, Delhi.
"I will never forget your story all my life," he had told a tsunami survivor in the area during his last visit.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
All praise for the town's post-tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation effort
CUDDALORE: It was in the shade of a neem tree at the Panchayat Union Middle School in Thazhanguda, a fishing village in Cuddalore, that the future disaster management policy of the United Nations was discussed on a hot Friday morning.
Former U.S. President and United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery Bill Clinton cited the model the small town had adopted for post-tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation and wanted it to be replicated not only in other tsunami-hit areas but also the rest of the world. "I want to figure out how to make this part of the UN strategy for future disasters."
"This is a good model for economic diversification and housing construction, not only for places devastated by natural disaster but also where poor people have substandard housing and not much economic opportunity. What is being done here, I would like to see copied throughout the world," Mr. Clinton reiterated during his last trip to India as Special Envoy.
He lauded the speedy pace at which houses were built for each family that had lost its home while ensuring that education, water and sanitation standards were on par with the mandate he had set.
He said housing was very important and also "the hardest thing to do." In other places, only about 30 per cent of the homes had been replaced. Even in Florida, a year after the hurricane rendered several thousands homeless, people were still living in tents. In Cuddalore, even those not affected by the tsunami but identified as "vulnerable" had been given houses.
He commended the efforts to provide alternative livelihood for those who had suffered multiple losses during the tsunami.
Mr. Clinton, who turned out in a formal blazer worn over a blue t-shirt, also dwelt on the warning system that had come up in the area. Cuddalore could be proud that it had covered the "last mile" in early warning systems and disaster preparedness.
Commending Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi for leading the recovery and rehabilitation effort right through, he said behind the success story was an "unusual partnership - national funding and regional leadership under this good man here." A combination of government, NGO and private contractor partnership had helped "build back better."
In two hours, Mr. Clinton visited the house of Mayilvail, a fisherman, in the newly reconstructed shelters (by the TANFAC Janseva Trust), interacted with students of the Panchayat Union Middle School in Thazhanguda and witnessed a mock disaster-preparedness drill.
Characteristically, he broke protocol to reach out, touch and interact with the locals who had gathered in droves to see him.
These incorporate flood-proof and cyclone-proof features The district was the first in the country to implement a pilot project on early warning system
CUDDALORE: Former United States President Bill Clinton, who visited Cuddalore on Friday in his capacity as the United Nations Secretary General's Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, was all praise for the tsunami re- construction works undertaken here.
He made a special mention about permanent houses built on a foundation of 10-13 ft, incorporating flood-proof and cyclone-proof features. What had been accomplished in Cuddalore was worthy of emulation elsewhere, Mr. Clinton said.
The tsunami had left 648 persons, including 214 children, dead in the district. A total of 2,23 houses were flattened, standing crop on 619 hectares damaged and 5,000 fishing boats destroyed. It was a daunting task for the State Government and the district administration to provide suitable accommodation and restore the livelihood of the affected.
But, within two years, Cuddalore has emerged as a role model for other tsunami-affected areas on carrying out reconstruction works. By constructing over 4,000 permanent houses, the district administration has also provided decent shelters to marginalised sections such as Irula tribals and Dalits. Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi told The Hindu that the UNDP had commended the district administration for having built additional houses. The district was a salient example of how public-private partnership could transform a devastated coastline into an area bubbling with life.
Imbued with the motto of three Bs - "Building Back Better" - the State Government had sanctioned Rs. 158 crore for providing infrastructure in the coastal areas of Cuddalore.
The district was the first in the country to implement a pilot project on early warning system, in coordination with the UNDP, in 55 coastal villages. The district administration has prepared disaster management plans for all 681 villages with the most vulnerable areas earmarked through participatory rural appraisal exercises. The escape routes have been charted out and safe shelters identified to accommodate people during exigencies. Mr. Bedi said UNICEF had provided school benches, desks and bags to all students in the coastal areas. Under the Prime Minister Relief Scheme, a monthly stipend of Rs. 300 was being given to students studying from standards 1 to 10.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The day stated as usual, two cycles broke down and had to be loaded onto the car and sent to Semankuppam for repairs. The trip to Semankuppam was excellent we were in the right time for pamphleteering, it was morning time and people were either at bus stops leaving for work or having their morning tea.
Murali and Madesh from Mettur were on a pamphleteering spree and were risking their lives to make sure everyone in sight got one. Murali's mother Dhanabagyam is an ex-worker of the Chemplast factory in Mettur and is suffering from uterine cancer and has had absolutely no help from the company. Murali's son Samivel was exposed to a deadly chlorine gas leak when he was just 20 days old, now he has to depend on a high dose of medication for the rest of his life.
After breakfast at Pudiyankuppam we passed by the Chemplast site where construction was on at full swing. We had to take a bathroom break on the site to honor all the people who had made Chemplast a reality in Cuddalore. We could smell SPICs shit odour already though we were 3 kms away from the factory so we decided to travel to the source of the smell which brought us to Eachangadu where SPIC is situated. From Eachangadu we went behind the SPIC factory and we were in for a really nasty surprise. The smell here was so intense that all of us began suffocating and gasping for air. The monitors have a system of rating these odours on a scale of 1 to 10 based on their intensity. We gave the odour an 8 but the monitors said that this was only a 5, an 8 would be much worse than this.
Meeting with the MLA
At 12:15 we headed for the town to meet with the local MLA Iyyappan at 12:45pm. The wind in SIPCOT was gusty and against us but we had to cycle like crazy to make it in time for the meeting. The meeting with the MLA was really explosive. Madesh from Mettur spoke about Chemplast and its impact on Mettur's agriculture, water and economy all of which are now destroyed. After a patient hearing the MLA began with his spiel and said "the company claims that all these allegations are motivated and untrue, there are so many engineers working in this company and going all offensive against just one company is not the right way to go about things, the government will never do anything wrong for its people. You people should be engaged in more constructive things like planting trees".
We were not to give up that easy if this is what Mr. MLA had to say so we began shooting questions and in a tizzy Mr. MLA had to go but not before offering water and biscuits to the cyclists. We decided to make a point and began walking out after dropping the biscuits back into the box and leaving the water bottle behind on the table. Mr. MLA ran out of his room and stopped us. He requested us to stop behaving in this fashion and said that he was pro people and pro poor and that he would do the right thing for the people of Cuddalore. He also assured that he would raise the issue in the assembly and also with the appropriate people at the appropriate time.
Mahatma Gandhi Hospital and Medical College
From Cuddalore town we headed to the next destination, Pondicherry. En route we halted at Kirumbakkam which was also an industrial area but residents here narrated a unique story. They were sharing their neighborhood with the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital & Medical College and the Arupadai Veedu Hospital & Medical College both of these were a blight on the landscape. Both the hospitals are water intensive and are severely burdening the ground water. In addition to this they also release their effluents onto the land, the Arupadai Veedu Hospital even injects them into the ground.
Here we met the local lake committee who offered their support and solidarity to the residents of SIPCOT. Nityanand spoke about medical waste and the problems arising during their disposal.
First milestone – Pondicherry
We had a public meeting at Pondicherry hosted by the Pondicherry Science Forum, CITU, DYFI and local organizations. They all spoke against mindless industialisation, and chemical industries and demanded more labour intensive industries. Nityanand, Mani and Parasuraman spoke about toxic industries and their impact on the environment. Nityanand made a special mention about the youth who formed the major part of the tour participants. Lot of them had lied to get permission from their colleges to participate in the tour. The day ended at 9 pm after a screening at Mettupalayam.
We will spend the night at the CPI office. Tomorrow is going to be more relaxed as we have to cover only 40kms so a bunch of us are heading out to the beach early morning.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
She was shocked to see stark images especially from Kasergode in Kerala and the Golden Corridor in Gujarat, which were a grim reminder of the fact that we were not moving in the right direction with development.
There were about 90 exhibits in all including paintings from children of SIPCOT Cuddalore and school children from Chennai.
Ms. Kanimozhi suggested that we talk about these issue of pollution and toxics with more people especially school children in order to generate an opinion about the issue. She also said that some of the images were really heart wrenching and something needs to be done to set things right. All the major media was present at the launch to catch a glimpse of Kanimozhi.
School children from KRMM School who were part of the school out reach program also visited the exhibition later during the day to view their paintings, which were on display among the other paintings.
Photo Credit: Jaison G, Deccan Chronicle, Chennai.
To create awareness on need for safe industries
CUDDALORE: A cycle rally, from Cuddalore to Chennai, was flagged off on Tuesday by Kolathur Mani, Periyar Dravida Kazhagam leader, to mark the Bhopal gas leak disaster (occurred on December 3,1984) and to protest against the concentration of pollution causing units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here.
The rally, in which 20 cyclists are participating, is intended to create awareness among the people about the need for safe industries that will not defile environment.
The rallyists will pedal their way through Puducherry, Tindivanam, Chengalpattu and reach Chennai on December 3. On December 4, a conference will be held in Chennai , focussing on the environmental degradation caused by various industries, with particular reference to Cuddalore.
Addressing the rallyists, Mr. Kolathur Mani said because of serious pollution it would not be an exaggeration to term Cuddalore as another Bhopal in the making. Mettur too was facing a similar predicament, because of the proliferation of the pollution causing units.
Mr. Mani called upon the State Government to strictly enforce the pollution control rules. For the sake of providing 300-500 jobs, the lives of five lakh families should not be put at peril. Instead, the Government should promote environment-friendly and labour-intensive industries.
Chairman of District Environmental Protection Organisation for Right Tackling (DEPORT) M. Nizamudeen said the existing chemical units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate had already caused irreparable damage to air, soil and water.
Despite the directive of the Supreme Court, the NEERI and other agencies, no efforts seemed to have been made to check pollution.
Mr. Nizamudeen further said the proposal to set up a polyvinyl chloride factory, an oil refinery and a textile park in the industrial estate would further aggravate the pollution problem.
Those, who support the rally, include the SIPCOT Community Social and Environmental Monitoring Group, Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, The Other Media, Exnora, and Meenavar Viduthalai Vengaigal.
Cycle rally to create eco-awareness - New Indian Express
Wednesday November 29 2006 00:00 IST
CUDDALORE: A five-day cycle rally aimed at creating awareness on environmental issues was flagged off here on Tuesday.
The participants will cover Cuddalore, Villupuram, Kancheepuram, Puducherry and Chennai districts.
President of Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam Kolathur Mani and chairman, District Environmental Protection Organisation for Right Tackling, M Nizamudeen flagged off the rally.
The participants will create an awareness among the people on the threats faced by people due to the establishment of industries of various kinds at the SIPCOT.
With the decks being cleared for the setting up of a mega PVC plant, marine terminal, desalination plant, coal-fired thermal power plant and a textile park in SIPCOT, the forum feared that the industries would pose a threat to the environment and marine life.
Members of the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring Group, West Konur Farmers’ Welfare Association, Manali Youth Exnora, Kattukuppam Civic Exnora, Meenavar Viduthalai Vengaikal, Tamil Nadu Meenavar Munnetra Sangam and South India Meenavar Welfare Association, are among the participants.
Besides creating awareness, the group would also screen films on environmental protection at Chithraipettai, Periyapattu, Thyagavalli, Puducherry, Tindivanam, Chengalpattu and Besant Nagar.
From Nity: We set off for our next destination to Cuddalore New Town at 7:30 am half hour past the scheduled time. Some of us were up at 4 am to fulfil the morning duties while others not so keen on attnending the call woke up at 6. We are 6 km away from Perangipettai which was one of the worst affected during the killer tsunami two years ago. Puduchatram, where we spent the night, is extremely rich in groundwater since its aquifers are spring fed. The groundwater here however has been contaminated post tsunami due to the saline intrusion. The groundwater here is so high that toilets cannot be dug very deep for the fear they might hit the water table. Puduchatram is where the SIMA textile park is proposed to be set up as part of the SIPCOT phase III expansion since the area is very rich in groundwater. Puduchatram is about 4 km away from Samiarpettai. The mainstay in Puduchatram is agriculture like cashew and paddy.
The living conditions at here were very basic and we had to make do with one toilet for 25 of us. Some of us found space in the warandah of a large building, huddled up all together since the climate was quite cool.
More about SIMA textile park:
Textile Park by South India Mills Association: Earlier this year, the Madras High Court threatened to close down nearly 737 textile units in Tiruppur because of their pollution. The companies had destroyed the groundwater in the entire town, and sucked dry wells in towns as far as way as Palladam. The River Noyyal now carries toxic effluents, and an entire dam the Orathupalayam Reservoir is now brimming with effluents from Tirupur’s textile units.
Rather than clean up, the Government is encouraging these companies to do two things. First, new and big dyeing industries are being encouraged to shift to Cuddalore. Already 300 acres of land have been allotted to 15 units. These bleaching and dyeing units will destroy both agriculture and fisheries in the area. Fisheries will suffer because the companies plan to discharge the multicoloured toxic effluents into the sea between Samiarpettai and Parangipettai. Agriculture will suffer because the companies will suck out vast amounts of groundwater for their process. Moreover, the companies plan to set up a coal-fired power plant, which will discharge hot water into the sea, and contribute to tremendous air pollution. Sulphur dioxide emissions from power plants will kill agriculture.
Second, the Government has also approved plans to pump textile effluents from Erode and Tiruppur to the sea in Cuddalore. That means the effluents will travel nearly 400 km to avoid polluting the agricultural lands enroute, and fall into the sea in Cuddalore.
The photo and painting exhibition primarily focuses on chemical pollution and its impact on human and environmental health and aims at raising awareness of the general public about the consumption of chemicals and its impact on the future generations and on people who share their backyards with facilities that make such chemicals. Though the exhibit displays images of Endosulphan poisoning in Kasargode, Kerala and chemical pollution from the Golden Corridor in Gujarat, the main focus is on Tamilnadu where places like Cuddalore, Mettur, Manali and Chengelpet are severely impacted by industrial pollution.
The exhibition also aims to generate public opinion on further expansion of SIPCOT Cuddalore that is already reeling under pollution from the 19 chemical industries that it houses. Air samples taken inside the estate revealed the presence of at least 25 toxic chemicals including 8 carcinogens, some at levels 20,000 times above those prescribed by the US Environment Protection Agency.
There are plans underway to divert 4 toxic and 2 industrial infrastructure projects to SIPCOT Cuddalore including a 170,000 tons per annum PVC plant, a six million tons per annum oil refinery, a 4000MW coal-fired power plant, a Textile Park a la Tiruppur and pipelines to pump effluents from leather tanneries in Ambur-Vaniyambadi and Tiruppur textile dyeing units into the Cuddalore sea.
The exhibition is on until the 4th of December 2006 between 10am and 5pm at Lalit Kala Akademy No. 4 Greams Road, Thousand Lights, Chennai.
For more information contact Dharmesh Shah - 9444416546
Issued by: SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring, Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, DEPORT, Youth for Social Change and The Other Media. Supported by: West Gonur Farmers Welfare Association, Manali Youth Exnora, Students from Chennai, Liberation Tigers of Fisherfolks, South India Fishermen Welfare Association, Tamilnadu Meenavar Munnetra Kazhagam, Human Rights Initaitive of Tamilnadu, Pondycherry Unit of DYFI, Pondicherry Science Forum, Guide Chengalpet, Thandai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam.
Supported by: West Gonur Farmers Welfare Association, Manali Youth Exnora, Students from Chennai, Liberation Tigers of Fisherfolks, South India Fishermen Welfare Association, Tamilnadu Meenavar Munnetra Kazhagam, Human Rights Initaitive of Tamilnadu, Pondycherry Unit of DYFI, Pondicherry Science Forum, Guide Chengalpet, Thandai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam.
We set off on schedule at 11.00 am and the first cycle crisis occurred within 20 meters of the start. We got cycle fixed at Old Town, Cuddalore and carried on. Earlier the flag off was good with a decent media response. Main group representatives spoke about the situation in Cuddalore but S. Ramanathan of SACEM ended the meeting with a memorable statement "they say that if the country wants to develop the youth need to dream, in SIPCOT youth beg of a good nights sleep in order to dream.
Kolathur Mani introduced the people of Mettur at the launch he said that people living next to Chemplast's PVC factory find life very difficult and that they have come in solidarity to the people of Cuddalore. They have forfeited their daily wages to be with the residents of Cuddalore and join them in the struggle. The representatives from Mettur included Madhusudhanan, father of M. Samivel who was exposed to a deadly Chlorine gas leak when he was just 20 days old. The representatives from the West Gonur Farmers Association spoke about the condition of agriculture in Mettur. All wells are polluted in the vicinity of Chemplast and nearly 5000 acres of land has been wasted. The company does not even have an ambulance for emergencies like their frequent Chlorine gas leaks due to which many residents have been seriously injured and hospitalized. The farmers also said that they have been living with Chemplast for the past 50 years and that it is extremely dishonest in their dealings with the local people.
En route participants met and spoke to passers by and people at local stalls about the purpose of their journey. They also stopped at all roadside tea stalls and zealously spoke about the problems of SIPCOT Cuddalore and about its relevance to Bhopal.
We passed the SIPCOT chemical complex but since the wind was blowing south to south east we could not smell the industries on the ECR. Despite this there were occasional strong whiffs from Shasun and Tantech. Two smells were the most noticeable, Shasun's strong detergent like smell and SPICs characteristic shit like smell that shocked people.
Just before lunch-time at Sangolikuppam, Gaana Vijay sang a Tamil Song 'Naarde Naarde' that literally means 'it smells it smells' for the people waiting for food, an appropriate song for the kinds of smells that lingered in the air.
After lunch we set off for Thyagavalli Panchayat where upon arrival the local elected representatives who had issued a resolution against Chemplast's proposal in Cuddalore greeted us. We were also offered refreshments which were basically local drinks filled into Coke and Sprite bottles, a neat home grown way of defeating the multinationals. We also drank tender coconut water in Thyagavalli and it tasted absolutely fantastic in complete contrast to the tender coconut in SIPCOT. The reason for this according to the locals is the absence of industries in Thyagavalli. Similar experiences have also been felt in Mettur where the groundwater has been heavily contaminated.
From Thyagavalli we reached Ambedkar Nagar for a brief period the ride overall was extremely pleasant with a gentle cool breeze flowing throughout. The sun was pretty harsh during some parts of the day and some of the participants suffered burns.
The next stop was Chitrapettai. Here we had to go door to door to invite people for the program. Kosu Mani of Tamilnadu Meenavar Munnetra Kazhagam, A. Mani of west Gonur Farmers Association and Kolathur Mani spoke about the situation in SIPCOT Cuddalore. Following which the LCD projector was set up for the film screening only to discover that the power plug was missing and after a 20 minute long attempt to fix the glitch plans for the screening had to be abandoned. On departure the police at Chitrapettai escorted us to the main road and cautioned us for speeding vehicles and asked us to maintain a single file as long as we were on the road.
By now it was dark and 3 cycles gave way. We somehow dragged them to Puduchatram, our halt for the night. Here the local people were not intimated so there were no arrangements for dinner so we all set off in different directions and finally found the last few Dosais in Puduchatram for dinner. This did not in anyway dampen the sprits; its 10:45 pm and people are still up and chatting. We are on the veranda of a large building in Puduchatram where we will spend the night, we have only one toilet for 25 of us. Natures calls will have to be answered on the road side as we need to be on the road by 7am in order to stick to the schedule.
...Clinton's office said on Monday, he will first travel to Cuddalore on December one to see a new housing complex constructed for fishermen whose homes were destroyed by the tsunami and a rehabilitated school. He will also visit a cyclone shelter with a newly installed early warning system and witness an early warning test and mock drill more>>
Clinton to visit India in December - NDTV
Clinton to visit tsunami affected areas in December - Zee News
Clinton to make final visit to tsunami-affected countries as U.N. envoy - International Herald Tribune
Clinton to make final visit to tsunami-affected countries as UN envoy - Garavi Gujarat
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Cuddalore, 26 November, 2006 -- Thyagavelli Panchayat, in which the marine terminal facility for Chemplast Sanmar's PVC factory is to be set up, resolved on 14.11.2006 against the Chemplast PVC factory. In doing so, they have dealt a major blow to the company's plans. Before undertaking any construction, project promoters are required to secure the consent of Grama Panchayats, according to the Tamilnadu Panchayat Rules. Fishing villages, particularly Chitrapettai through which a pipeline carrying hazardous raw material will pass, are upset that the Tamilnadu Government permitted the company to set up a plant and jetty that would affect fisheries without consulting the fisherfolk. The company separated the PVC plant and the marine terminal facility proposals. While a public hearing was held for the PVC facility, the company bypassed local communities and secured an environmental clearance for the marine terminal facility directly from the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests.
Fishing communities in Cuddalore have resolved to defeat the company's plans for a PVC plant in Cuddalore. Fishing villages in Pondicherry, Kanchipuram and Chennai have also extended their support to the fisherfolk from Cuddalore.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
"Gana Vijay's Villu Paattu -- a folk music form from Tamilnadu literally translated as "bow song" -- evokes the beauty and bounty of Cuddalore, and quickly switches to explain the current where the once-productive River Uppanar has no fish, the goats are dying and the chicken are sick -- all because of pollution. This is a sample from Gana Vijay's diverse portfolio."
stove. Parai is a percussion instrument made
using raw buffalo hide drawn taut over a ring.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Fight for Cuddalore
Youth on Cycles for Cuddalore – 28 November to 2 December
Route and Schedule
28 November: Flag Off from Cuddalore Town. (Route: Old Town, Pachaiyankuppam, Thaikal, CUSECS 6, Rajapettai, Chitrapettai, Naduthittu, Thyagavelli, Thiruchopuram, Periyakuppam, Tamanampettai, Ayyampettai, Poochimedu, Periyapattu, Cuddalore Town). Film screening: Chitrapettai, Thyagavelli, Periyapattu. Night Halt: Periyapattu
29 November: Periyapattu to Sonnanchavadi, Semmankuppam, Sangolikuppam, Eachangadu, Kudikadu, Devanampattinam, Thazhanguda, Pondicherry. Film screening/Night Halt: Pondicherry
30 November: Pondy to Marakkanam, Tindivanam. Film screening/Night halt: Tindivanam
1 December: Tindivanam to Madurantakam, Chengalpattu. Film screening/Night halt: Chengalpattu
2 December: Chengalpattu to Kovalam, Besant Nagar. Film screening: Besant Nagar
Background: December 3 is the 22nd anniversary of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal. In the lead-up to the anniversary of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (Chennai) and its supporters wish to highlight Cuddalore as a Bhopal in our own backyard.
- Chemplast PVC factory and marine terminal, and desalination plant, Semmankuppam and Chitrapettai
- 4000MW coal-fired thermal power plant, Naduthittu
- A mega textile park, Periyapattu
- A 6 million tones per annum petrochemical refinery by Nagarjuna, Thyagavelli
- Effluents pumped into sea from Tiruppur textile dyeing units
- Effluents pumped into sea from Ambur-Vaniyambadi leather tanneries
- A shipbuilding yard
For more information on Bhopal and Cuddalore
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring, Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, DEPORT, Youth for Social Change, The Other Media
c/o 42A, 1st Floor, 5th Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090
Locals block road; demand closure of the company
Cuddalore, 22 November 2006: A massive explosion at Loyal Super Fabrics rocked the SIPCOT Industrial estate at around 12 noon today. The explosion took place at a newly set-up oil boiler of the unit and was followed by a fire that ravaged sections of the unit. According to SACEM, whose monitors arrived on the scene immediately, the fire was difficult to control. It took 8 fire fighting vehicles more than 2 hours to bring the fire under control. Officials of the TNPCB were present at the spot, but no representative from the Factories Inspectorate visited the site.
Residents of Kudikadu village, the community worst affected by Loyal, and representatives of Pattali Makkal Katchi, a political party, blocked the road outside the unit in the afternoon demanding immediate closure of the unit.
A September 2006 public hearing report observed that local youth and residents were very agitated about the pollution caused by the factory, and the inability of the TNPCB to rein in the pollution. Like many other factories in Tamilnadu, Loyal too has no valid Consent to operate. Loyal’s consent expired in 1998, and has not been renewed since.
Pursuant to community pressure, Loyal came under the TNPCB’s scanner and was shut down in the month of July for not following the Consent conditions. The unit was eventually reopened conditionally for two months in August 2006 and the later its operations were extended till 10 December 2006.
Numerous reports of pollution from this unit and other factories in SIPCOT have been systematically ignored by the government. Rather than curb pollution, the Government is approving more and more polluting factories to come up in residential and agricultural areas in Cuddalore.
The Loyal explosion comes at an ominous time, less than 10 days before the 22nd anniversary of the Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal.
Read earlier reports here:
Loyal Super Fabrics operations extended for two months
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
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Friday, November 10, 2006
By Nityanand Jayaraman
Cuddalore, the place by the sea, is soon set to be assaulted. Some of the dirtiest industries – chemical factories, petrochemical refineries, shipbuilding yard, textile dyeing units, and coal-fired power plants – are making a beeline for Cuddalore. The Tamilnadu Government has earmarked Cuddalore district for locating polluting industries. Their argument: Cuddalore is already polluted. So let's concentrate all polluting industries in this district, thereby saving the rest of Tamilnadu from pollution.
Fact aside, that only one part of Cuddalore – the SIPCOT Industrial Estate in Pachaiyankuppam, Kudikadu and Semmankuppam panchayats – is polluted. The rest of Cuddalore is home to white-sand beaches, dense mangroves, lazy rivers, cashew groves and casuarinas.
I have heard about this decision to sacrifice Cuddalore repeated often. At least two chairpersons of the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board have admitted over the last 8 years that Cuddalore's fate is sealed. . .that a decision to sacrifice Cuddalore has been taken at the highest levels.
The kind of industrialization that is planned for Cuddalore will mean the death of Cuddalore as we know it. Pollution-intensive industrialization has its beneficiaries in far-away places. The local people and the local economy will take a punishing beating.
On the one hand, people dependent on water and land for a livelihood – fishers and farmers – will lose their source of income. On the other, the ill-health caused by a poisoned environment will mean fewer work days, and higher medical expense
There are industries, and there are industries. Industries that destroy local resources, poison the air, water and land will eventually impoverish the local people rather than lend to their prosperity.
How do I know? Because we have experience of this kind of chemical-intensive industrialization in Cuddalore, and we know that it has made local people poorer.
All you have to do is check out the 8 km stretch south of Pachaiyankuppam on the Cuddalore-Chidambaram Highway. The SIPCOT industrial estate located here has been judged by many as ranking among the smelliest places in India. About 19 chemical industries, manufacturing pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dye chemicals, explosives, gelatin and sundry chemicals, spew out noxious air emissions and liquid effluents.
Just as Eskimos have a thousand words to describe the snow, SIPCOT residents have numerous descriptions for the various smells that assault their senses day-long. SPIC smells of shit; Tagros smells like a hospital; Shasun smells like rotten cabbage, rotten eggs; Pioneer Miyagi smells like a decomposing corpse; Asian Paints smells like sapota fruit. Then there are other smells – nail polish, rotten egg, fruity odours. In all, the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors (SACEM) – a team of five villagers trained in environmental monitoring – have identified at least 36 odours emanating from the SIPCOT industries.
Surely, progress can't be this smelly. These smells are not merely a nuisance; anybody that tells you that is lying. Odours are indicators of pollution, of chemicals in the air. Hydrogen sulphide, a deadly gas, has a characteristic rotten egg odour. The nail polish odour indicates the presence of acetone. Rotten cabbage is the smell of your cooking gas resulting from the chemical methyl mercaptan. The shit smell means the presence of a category of chemicals called Indoles.
Indeed, when samples of the ambient air in SIPCOT was sent to the United States for analysis by SACEM, at least 25 chemicals were discovered. Eight of them are known to cause cancer. These include – chloroform, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloroethane, carbon tetrachloride, vinyl chloride, bromomethane and benzene.
1,2-dichloroethane was more than safe levels by a factor of 22,973; chloroform was above safe levels by a factor of 5119.
At least 13 of the chemicals found are used as raw material in one or more industries. In other words, toxic chemicals are constantly spilling out of the factories through chimneys and various other leaks and contaminating the air breathed by more than 20,000 people.
The effects are there for all to see. Children in the SIPCOT villages can be seen with rheumy eyes, running noses and rashes on the skin. The eye and nose disorders are indicative of upper respiratory tract problems – a likely sign of air pollution. Anecdotal evidence gathered during the visit of Justice J. Kanakaraj and team as part of the Indian People's Tribunal revealed shocking information. Women in SIPCOT were reporting menstrual irregularities, delayed onset of puberty among girls, compromised physical development among boys, widespread dental and skin problems.
These long-term effects pale in front of the acute effects people experience when the air pollution gets intense. "We can't breathe; it feels like somebody is sitting on your chest. Whatever is in the air burns your eyes, tears through your nose and sets your lungs on fire. At least we can hold a cloth to our nose; imagine the fate of infants," said one irate mother from Eachangadu, a village surrounded on three sides by smelly factories.
Several 100 acres of fertile farm land have been abandoned because ground water in the entire SIPCOT area is contaminated, and the lands are awash with effluents and toxic waste. The River Uppanar, once the lifeline for more than 8 villages of inland fisherfolk, is now a faint shadow of its original productive self. Ask any fisherman and he will rattle off the names of at least 30 kinds of fishes that used to be found in the River. Now, less than 8 commercial species are found.
In all this, the TNPCB and the State Government have played villains, colluding with the polluters and punishing residents when they complain about pollution. Many of the industries function outside the law. CUSECS -- a company that was set up with Government participation to collect treated effluents and discharge it into the Bay of Bengal -- is completely illegal. It has no permits whatsoever. Information about quality of effluents discharged from CUSECS was recently obtained by SACEM using Right to Information. That information revealed that CUSECS was not merely illegal, but was discharging highly toxic and untreated effluents into the sea. The long-term effect on fisheries and consumers of Cuddalore fish can be devastating.
Despite intense opposition, the Government is pushing ahead with a proposal by Chemplast Sanmar to set up a factory to manufacture PVC plastic. PVC is one of the most toxic plastics. Its production, usage and disposal are all associated with the release of highly toxic chemicals, including dioxins and furans which are the most toxic chemicals known to science.
The scenic sand dunes of Naduthittu are earmarked for a ultra-mega coal-fired thermal plant which will throw out tones of sulphur dioxide into the air, and release a flyash slurry that will convert the bountiful ocean floor into a concrete cemetery.
Effluents from Tirupur textile units, and from the Ambur-Vaniyambadi leather tanneries are also rumoured to be making their way to the Cuddalore seas via long-distance pipelines. All in all, Cuddalore is set to become the smelly, sweaty armpit of industrial civilization.
Some may call this progress or development. But for the people who live in Cuddalore, this is hell. The ones that can afford to have already left Cuddalore. The unfortunate ones and the elderly have no option but to stay in what has now become a gas chamber.
If you're concerned and want to help:
Tel: +91 9444082401