Saturday, September 01, 2012

SIPCOT units under scanner

SIPCOT units under scanner - The Hindu

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to continuously monitor the air, including for toxic gases, of the units in SIPCOT, Cuddalore, and take suitable legal action against any defaulting unit.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and R.Subbiah was disposing of a writ petition by the Member-Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority. A news item in The Hindu on September 21, 2004, under the headline “Villages in Cuddalore industrial estate toxic hot spot,” was ordered to be taken as a writ petition by the then Chief Justice.

In the petition, a direction was sought to the authorities to provide safety levels to villagers around the SIPCOT Industrial Estate near Cuddalore town by constantly monitoring the air, implement an air pollution programme and long-term health monitoring of residents. The report said that 20,000 residents of 10 villages and several hamlets around the over-two-decade-old SIPCOT industrial estate were exposed to high levels of 22 volatile organic compounds, including eight cancer causing ones, mostly released by factories on the complex.

The Bench said there was force in the contentions by some of the industrial units that they alone could not be blamed for the pollution. This was because there were several additional factors such as burning of garbage and vehicular traffic.

The court said in the absence of any technical data provided by NEERI or TNPCB to distinguish the pollution because of units or other factors, it was unable to either justify or reject the units’ contention. However, being a statutory body, the burden lies on TNPCB and also the Central Pollution Control Board to take steps to combat pollution.

Material had been placed before the court by some of the units that their emissions were within the prescribed limits and that no legal action had been initiated against them by the authorities concerned. The Bench appreciated such units.

It directed the TNPCB to monitor the air continuously, including toxic gases from industries. If any violation was noticed, it should take necessary legal action against the errant units.

Rogue units in Cuddalore SIPCOT will face closure

HC says rogue units will face closure - The Times of India

Pollution board told to monitor air quality at SIPCOT complex


Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to do continuous air monitoring at the SIPCOT complex in Cuddalore. The court warned that rogue units would face closure.

“We direct the TNPCB to do continuous air monitoring, and if any violation is found, take necessary legal action against the errant unit/units as per law,” warned a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice M Venugopal on Wednesday.

The Cuddalore industrial cluster is one among the 43 critically polluted industrial areas identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Recently, the CPCB along with the Union ministry of environment and forest conducted a study of 88 industrial clusters in the country, and found that those in Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Erode, Manali, Tirupur and Vellore in Tamil Nadu were guilty of causing critical pollution.
On Wednesday, passing further orders on PILs pending since 2004, the bench also refused to lift the ban on the Cuddalore SIPCOT Industries Common Utilities Limited (CUSECS), which is in existence since 2001, without the mandatory consent to operate from the TNPCB. The common effluent facility, has instead, been surviving only on the no-objection certificate obtained from the authorities.

On Wednesday, Justice Elipe Dharma Rao, writing the judgment for the bench, refused to lift the ban on the operation of the CUSECS saying: “When the very inception of CUSECS is not in accordance with law, having no legal sanctity and further the possibility of leakage through its pipeline cannot be ruled out, we do not see any reason to lift the ban imposed by us on the functioning of the CUSECS.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stations to track air quality in TN’s most polluted belts

Stations to track air quality in TN’s most polluted belts - The Times of India
Julie Mariappan TNN

Chennai: The state government received a boost in its efforts to monitor air quality in industrial clusters, with the Central Pollution Control Board giving the nod for setting up real time air quality monitoring stations at five locations in Cuddalore and Mettur. The project will be implemented in the two regions known to be polluted industrial belts, under CPCB’s nationwide national air quality monitory program.

    The move comes in the wake of frequent complaints about the highly-polluted industrial clusters of the staterun SIPCOT. While assessing the quality of air in 2010, the CPCB study revealed that Cuddalore was highly polluted with an environmental pollution index (CEPI) score of 77.45. Any industrial cluster with a score of 70 and above is considered critically polluted and this even led the Union ministry of environment and forests to impose a moratorium on new industries in 2010 in Cuddalore. The state pollution control board was directed not to grant licenses for new industries in the region. Cuddalore was rated 16 among the polluting 88 industrial clusters in the country. “CPCB has taken up the cost estimates of the stations and is likely to issue orders for tendering,” said asenior government official.

    The main objective of the programme is to ascertain whether the prescribed ambient air quality standards are violated, and to take preventive and corrective measures. Four air pollutants, sulphurdioxide, oxides of nitrogen, suspended particulate matter and respirable suspended particulate matter will be monitored real-time. “It’s a welcome move. This is the first step in monitoring the air in this belt. But it will be of no use, unless the community is kept in the loop from the beginning right from selecting the location for installation of the samplers to the monitoring,” said Swetha Narayan, coordinator of an activist group Community Environment Monitoring (CEM).

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Rs 92,160 crore is expected to be poured into Cuddalore and Nagapattinam"

Govt approves petrochemical investment zone in TN - Business Line

 Siddhartha P. Saikia

 New Delhi, July 4:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday gave its go-ahead for the setting up of a petrochemical investment region in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu.

“An investment of about Rs 92,160 crore is expected to be poured into the region, which includes committed investment of Rs 22,160 crore,” the Home Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, told mediapersons.

The infrastructure in the region would be set up through public-private partnership with the Centre providing viability gap funding. Nearly Rs 13,354 crore would be spent for the development of physical infrastructure such as roads, railways, air links, ports, water supply and power, among others.

“The Government of Tamil Nadu has sought the support of the Centre for the Rs 1,143-crore of viability gap funding for the construction of road and desalination plant projects. An additional Rs 1,500-crore budgetary support has been sought for laying a railway project,” the Government said in a statement.

This is the first PCPIR to be approved after PCPIRs in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Orissa.

Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd (NOCL), a joint venture of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation and Nagarjuna Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd, has been selected as one of the anchor tenants for the project. NOCL would set up a Rs 9,660-crore six million tonnes per annum refinery complex at Cuddalore. The refinery is expected to be completed by September 2013.

Also, NOCL has charted out a road map to expand the refinery capacity to 15 million tonnes every year by 2015-16. The joint venture company will also set up a xylene production facility, purified terephthalic acid plant and a propylene recovery unit.

Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) is the second anchor tenant for the investment region. It targets to set up a 15 million tonne per annum refinery and petrochemical complex. The project is designed for the production of 1.2 million tonnes of ethylene every year. It envisages investment of Rs 40,000 crore after 2015.

The investment region is spread over 256.83 sq km, including a processing area of 104 sq km. It will have residential, commercial and other social and institutional infrastructure.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Missed news

I am posting some news which I missed as it happened.

TN got most thermal plant nods - Express News Service
Gokul Chandrasekar
Last Updated : 23 Sep 2011 09:22:41 AM IST

CHENNAI: Pointing out that about 50,000 acres of forest land was allotted for mining and power projects, the study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment revealed that Tamil Nadu was granted the most clearances for thermal power plants-37.

“In the mad rush to improve power availability in the state, the government is actually forgetting the lessons that the tsunami taught us,” says environmental activist Shweta Narayanan. “The entire state coastline is dotted by power plant proposals, a recipe for disaster,” says Narayanan. As if this wasn’t enough, a present proposal for a Chemical SEZ and allied power plants in coastal Tamil Nadu has been formulated in a manner that the park engulfs entire Pichavaram— the second largest mangrove forest in the world.

“The 11th and 12th Five Year Plans together target a capacity addition of 150,000 MW of power. However, in the past five years, the environment ministry has granted clearance for an astounding 210,000 MW of thermal power capacity, in other words, 60,000 MW more than what has been proposed till 2017,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Directorof CSE.

Cos to pay for pollution study - The Times of India
TNN Jan 1, 2011, 03.06am IST

CHENNAI: At least 13 paint, pharma and chemical units at the SIPCOT industrial complex in Cuddalore have been directed by the Madras high court to pay Rs 1 lakh each for a survey on pollution levels in the locality.

A division bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and D Hariparanthaman, passing interim orders on a public interest writ petition, asked the companies to deposit the amount to the credit of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) within a week.

Residents turn their ire against oil firm - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

About 200 residents squatted on Cuddalore-Chidambaram road

They demanded due compensation to families of the deceased and injured

CUDDALORE: Residents of Thiruchopuram and Nanjalingampettai on Tuesday turned their ire against a private oil company by holding it responsible for the death of four girl students in the road accident that occurred at Semmanguppam near here on Monday.

About 200 residents squatted on Cuddalore-Chidambaram road at Semmanguppam, blocking the traffic for about an hour in the morning. They urged the oil company to give due compensation to the families of the deceased and injured students.

They also impounded three vehicles carrying employees of the company and refused to let go until the company apologised to the villagers for the accident and come out with due compensation package.

Meanwhile, a section of them went to Periakuppam (where the oil company is located) to voice their protest.

When the security personnel did not allow them inside, they pelted stones and damaged glass panes.

They also broke the windscreen of an ambulance parked on the company premises. A spokesperson of the residents said that it was due to the recklessness of the driver of the vehicle contracted by the company that the accident took place, killing the four and injuring 31 others.

The spokesperson alleged that even though the company knew fully well that it was one of the vehicles engaged by the company that caused the accident, the company did not take any efforts to arrange for ambulances to take the injured to the hospital.

It was the local people and the passers-by who took the injured in a private bus to the hospital. The company management remained indifferent to the tragedy and never expressed condolence to the bereaved families nor did it send any of its representatives to the government hospital to enquire about the condition of the injured, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Revenue Divisional Officer Murugesan and Deputy Superintendent of Police Pandian reached the spot and held talks with the protestors to assuage their feelings.

The company sources said that none of the vehicles owned by the company was involved in the accident.

It was the vehicle hired by a sub-contractor of the company that met with the accident while transporting the employees of the former to the company premises.

Coastal community hit by sea erosion - The Hindu

A.V. Ragunathan

Capital dredging, redesigning of harbour among suggestions put forth

CUDDALORE: A significant part of the coastal area at Chinnamudaliarchavadi in Villupuram has been lost to the sea. According to a conservative estimate, at least 200 acres of land along the 10-km coastal stretch, off East Coast Road, has been gobbled up owing to sea incursion or sea erosion.

According to a study by Pondicherry Citizens Action Network (PCAC) in coordination with Federation for People's Rights, the 80-m-wide beach at Chinnamudaliarchavadi and two rows of fishermen tenements have vanished.

President of the PCAC Probir Banerjee told The Hindu that the study attributed this factor to two reasons: inconsistent dredging at the Puducherry harbour and construction of groynes. These structures had caused devastations along the Puducherry and Villupuram coast.

Sea incursion had become almost a common phenomenon, uprooting trees and pulling down the habitations of the fishermen, particularly on the Villupuram side.

The water aquifer had become saline thus spoiling the groundwater for a stretch of four km inland.

Mr. Banerjee said that the territorial government had spent Rs.20 crore on putting up these structures to safeguard the welfare of 150 fishermen.

But wittingly or unwittingly it had caused permanent loss of livelihood to 7,000 other families.

Social, economic costs

Had the harbour been properly dredged at an estimated cost of Rs.3 crore a year, things would not have come to such a pass. The environment, social and economic costs of this lapse were quite enormous and irreparable.

Mr. Banerjee said that the natural resources were the assets of the country but the way these were plundered was a cause for concern. If the trend was not reversed, over a period, the GDP (gross domestic product) would register a negative growth.

He noted that though the governments of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were said to have reached an understanding to tackle the issue jointly, no progress was yet achieved on this front.

Therefore, the PCAC and the Federation for People's Rights, had appealed to the Union Ministry for Environment to find a permanent solution to the issue in coordination with Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments.

They had also suggested the following measures: sand bypass system (a form of dredging) must be activated, capital dredging should be done and the harbour ought to be re-designed.

Fishermen apprised

Mr. Banerjee on Saturday apprised the fishermen, social organisations and consumer activists on the impending threat posed by the proposal to set up a clutch of private ports along the Cuddalore coast.

M. Nizamudeen of the Consumer Federation-Tamil Nadu said representatives of the SIPCOT Local Community Monitoring, Tamil Nadu Meenavar Peravai, Meenavar Viduthalai Vengaigal, Tamil Nadu Meenavar Padhukappu Iyakkam, Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) attended the session in which satellite pictures were presented to demonstrate the gravity of the problem.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Activists urge government to abandon Kudankulam project - The Hindu

Activists urge government to abandon Kudankulam project
Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE, November 8, 2011

Environmentalists and consumer activists staged a demonstration in front of the Collectorate here on Monday clamouring for abandonment of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.

Members of the Consumer Federation-Tamil Nadu, SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors and the People Movement Against Nuclear Power participated in it.

Executive secretary of the Consumer Federation M. Nizamudeen said that India should draw a lesson from the nuclear power plant disasters occurred elsewhere in the world and the recent being the Fukushima plant in Japan that was devastated by the tsunami and caused untold misery to the people there.


There was no second opinion over the fact that electricity generation ought to be augmented to meet the increasing demand. But considering the fact that nuclear power plants had the potential to wreak long-term havoc on humanity, marine life and on the living beings on the earth the best option available was to jettison such projects and to tap safe and clean sources of energy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

People's charter lists demands to candidates

People's charter lists demands to candidates - THE HINDU

Cuddalore, 16 OCTOBER 2011

The Federation of All Residents' Welfare Associations-Cuddalore has brought out a “People's charter” listing out demands for improving living conditions in urban and rural areas.

Copies of the charter are being handed over to candidates contesting local body elections, political parties, district administration and the public. The Association, which met under the presidentship of R. Aranganathan here, identified at least 29 issues to be resolved.

Federation general secretary M. Maruthavanan told The Hindu the charter noted that Cuddalore, besides facing lack of civic amenities, was also engulfed in pollution problems that severely affected air and water quality. It had been scientifically established that toxic elements that were present in excess quantity in water sources and ambient air were posing health hazards. The aspiring candidates should focus attention on these issues during and after the elections.

It pointed out that groundwater in Cuddalore was increasingly turning brackish and in another five years the town would be in the grip of serious water crisis. Therefore, the proposed Kollidam water project should be executed expeditiously.

The Federation observed that the shoddy execution of the underground drainage project had caused immense problems to commuters and the stretch of East Coast Road from the Manjakuppam clock tower to the Cuddalore Old Town was in shambles.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pollution update from

Mettur Residents Petition Collector Against Pollution -

25 JULY, 2011. SALEM -- Twenty seven people from different parts of Mettur submitted complaints of pollution and damage to health and livelihood to the District Collector of Salem at the Grievance day meeting at the Collectorate. Residents from Ramamoorthy Nagar, a residential area behind Vedanta-owned Malco's thermal power plant wrote to the Collector complaining of incessant dust from the mountain-like dump of toxic Red Mud, and demanded its speedy removal read more>>

Show-cause notice issued to Nagarjuna Oil Corporation - The Hindu
29 July 2011

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has issued a show-cause notice to the Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd, located at Kayalpattu in Thiruchopuram near here, asking the company why penal action should not be taken against it for violating the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and raising a structure without obtaining the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance read more>>

Effluent Discharge at Greenpark Odai through an Illegal Pipeline -

28 JULY, 2011 Greenpark, Mettur - Villagers in the Thangamapuripatnam area reported a discharge of stong medicine smelling effluents in the stream alongiside the residential area in Greenpark at around 6 a.m. today. Residents alleged that an old pipeline belonging to Chemplast Sanmar runs in the vicinity of the pipeline, and that this may have been the source for the effluents. Ganesan of the Mettur Padhukaappu Iyakkam complained to Mr. Pandian, Assistant Environmental Engineer (AEE), TNPCB at 10 a.m., who visited the area in the evening read more>>

Concern over chemical storage in shut down unit - The Hindu
4 August 2011

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

Workers, social activists and environmentalists have voiced concern over the safety of the “idle storage of ammonium and chloroform in two tanks” in the recently shut down SPIC Pharma unit located on the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here.

The workers claim that the chemicals are flammable and would even cause explosion when leak occurs in the tanks. In such a case, they fear, it would pose a severe health hazard to the people living in the surrounding areas read more>>


METTUR, 06.08.2011 About twenty people suffered from breathing difficulty, stomach swelling and burning of the eyes following a gas leak from Plant I of Chemplast Sanmar in Mettur R.S. on 06.08.2011 at 7.00 P.M. The gas leak which was seen as a white cloud of smoke lasted till 8.30 P.M. and the shops around the factory shut at 8.00 P.M. as panic set in among shop keepers. Nearly ten shop keepers approached the Security of Chemplast Sanmar who is then said to have contacted a Senior Officer in Chemplast Sanmar Plant I read more>>

For up to date news about pollution in Cuddalore visit

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Show-cause notice issued to Nagarjuna Oil Corporation - The Hindu

Show-cause notice issued to Nagarjuna Oil Corporation

For raising a structure without obtaining CRZ clearance

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has issued a show-cause notice to the Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd, located at Kayalpattu in Thiruchopuram near here, asking the company why penal action should not be taken against it for violating the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and raising a structure without obtaining the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.

In the notice the TNPCB has stated that the unit has started establishment of the marine terminal facility by providing a temporary bridge measuring 450-metre long, 6-metre wide and 6-metre above mean sea level, starting from the shoreline into the sea.

It has also noted that the unit has started providing pilings to a length of 261 metre in the sea for construction of an approach trestle. The unit has constructed four sheds in the CRZ area to carry out the construction activity and has also revived the jetty, without getting CRZ clearance, to facilitate the barge services to bring heavy equipment for the refinery.

When contacted, District Environmental Engineer (TNPCB-Cuddalore) A.Raja said that following the show-cause notice, the company had stopped the works on the construction of the temporary bridge. It could revive the works only after getting due clearance.

Meanwhile, executive secretary of the Consumer Federation Tamil Nadu M.Nizamudeen told presspersons that the construction of the temporary bridge by the company had caused sea erosion in the nearby coastal villages and affected the fishing community.