Sunday, August 24, 2008

SIPCOT Residents Protest Setting of New Chemical Industries in their Village

SIPCOT Residents Protest Setting of New Chemical Industries in their Village

Cuddalore, 22 August 2008: More than 100 residents from SIPCOT villages including Eachangadu, Sonanchavadi and Semmankuppam organized a protest meeting opposite the Collector's office to express their opposition to Government's move of setting up new chemical and polluting units in their villages. Citing the poor environmental records, a looming public health crisis and a recent National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) report, that estimated that SIPCOT Cuddalore residents are at least 2000 times more likely to contract cancer in their lifetimes due to their exposure to high levels of toxic gases from chemical industries in the region, the residents demanded a total moratorium on new chemical and polluting units in the area.

Villagers also protested the Tamil Nadu Government's move to set up a Chlorinated Polyethylene facility by Aria Chemicals barely 100 meters from the fishing village of Sonanchavadi in SIPCOT Phase II. According to the villagers neither the Company nor the Government have informed them about the dangers of the facility, the types of chemicals used nor have they sought permission from the village.

Aria Chemicals has received environmental clearance to set up a 20000 TPA capacity Chlorinated Polyethylene facility in Sonanchavadi village of SIPCOT Cuddalore. The unit will use 40 tonnes of chlorine per day as one of its primary raw material. They will also use at least 3,10,000 of water per batch of production.

The villagers submitted petitions supported by more than 600 residents of SIPCOT area against the proposal of setting up of Aria Chemicals and also announced that they will continue with various forms of peaceful agitation till their demands are honoured.

Participants of the meeting also included – Sonanchavadi Fishing Panchayat and Residents; Semmankuppam Village Youth Group and Women's Group; Eachangadu Women's Self Help Group; Venpura Social Welfare Organisation; Tarasu People's Forum, Liberation Tigers of Fishermen; Human Rights organisations from Cuddalore, Lawyers and Lawyer's Clerk Association; Killai Fishing Village Panchayat; Dalit Panthers; Tamil Nadu Progressive Writer's Association; Tamil Nadu Environmental Kazhagham; Consumer Organisations; SACEM.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Join the residents of SIPCOT demading no more chemical/pollution industries in Cuddalore

Join the Residents of SIPCOT in Demanding
"No Further Industrialisation of SIPCOT Cuddalore with Chemical and Polluting Industries"

Public Meeting
22 August 2008 (Friday);
4.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Opposite Collector's Office in New Town Cuddalore


Cuddalore is reeling under pollution, and its people are suffering. Chemical industries in Cuddalore have destroyed lives and livelihoods of thousands. According to a latest scientific report prepared by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute on air pollution in and around SIPCOT chemical industrial estate, there are atleast 94 chemicals in the ambient air, including 15 that are known hazardous air pollutants. The report also estimates that SIPCOT Cuddalore residents are at least 2000 times more likely to contract cancer in their lifetimes due to their exposure to high levels of toxic gases from chemical industries in the region.

Anybody traveling on the Cuddalore-Chidambaram highway can smell the horrible smells from the industrial estate. Entire villages live inside the industrial estate, adjacent to hazardous factories. Gas leaks and industrial accidents are a common feature in SIPCOT Cuddalore.

Rather than take action to reduce the pollution and preventing toxic exposure to the community and environment, the Tamil Nadu Government has earmarked coastal Cuddalore for locating the dirtiest and most hazardous industries in the area. According to senior Government officials, the Government has decided to concentrate polluting industries in Cuddalore based on the perverse logic that it is wiser to pollute an already polluted place.

In the most recent move to pursue its agenda to sacrifice the communities of Cuddalore for the "larger good" the Government has given environmental clearance to a Chlorinated Polyethylene manufacturer – Aria Chemicals to set up its facility in the neighbourhood of Sonanchavadi, a fishing village in SIPCOT phase II.

Aria Chemicals will manufacture 20000 tonnes of Chlorinated Polyethylene. It will use at least 40 tonnes of deadly chemical chlorine daily to achieve its target production. Chlorine is a known toxic volatile gas used regularly in the industrial processes. Exposure to low levels of chlorine can cause eye and nose irritation, cough, change in heart beat and extreme exposure could even result in death.

The Government also has plans to set up the following toxic projects for the region in the future:

  1. Nagarjuna Oil Refinery, Thyagavelli Panchayat: The 6 million tonne/year refinery is coming up near the coast. This will cause widespread air pollution (see Manali area in North Chennai), and will pollute the sea with oil. Effluents will be disposed at sea. Groundwater will be extracted.
  2. 1350 MW capacity coal-fired thermal power plant, Naduthittu: The plant will generate more than 300,000 tonnes of toxic flyash, and air pollution.
  3. SIMA Textile Park, Chinnandikuzhi, Periyapattu village: Much bigger than the Tiruppur dyeing factories, units in this park are set to come up on prime agricultural land. The toxic effluents will be disposed into the sea.
  4. Shipbuilding Yard, near Cuddalore harbour.

The communities in Cuddalore is up in arms against pollution and polluting industries.

Support their struggle for a toxic free future.

For more details contact:

In Chennai – Shweta Narayan – 9444024315

In Cuddalore – T. Arulselvam – 9443737134

Protest against new chemical/ polluting industries in SIPCOT Cuddalore

SIPCOT Cuddalore gets a surprise visit - SACEM

SIPCOT Cuddalore Gets a Surprise Visit from Higher Officials; Errant Units Under Scanner

Cuddalore, 20 August 2008: SIPCOT Cuddalore got a surprise visit from a high powered team of Tamil Nadu government including the Industry Secretary M. F. Farooqui, Energy Secretary Smita Nagraj, Chairperson of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) R. Balakrishnan, Member Secretary of TNPCB R. Rmachandran and the District Collector and District Revenue Officer (DRO) of Cuddalore. The committee inspected various industries in SIPCOT including CUSECS and Chemplast facility. According to the sources the purpose of the visit was to check on irregularities by the existing units and site visit for the proposed Power Plant, Refinery and the Port.

The committee after inspecting Tantech, a pesticide manufacturing unit in SIPCOT ordered an immediate power cut to the facility acknowledging the existing violations. This measure came as a relief to the communities who have been complaining about Tantech's violations for a very long time. More than 400 members of the community also met with the committee members at the end of their visit to petition them about the existing pollution in the region, ongoing violations of CUSECS and Chemplast facility and to reiterate their demand on no new chemical or polluting industry in the region.

The committee assured the community members that their grievances would be addressed without delay.

Date:20/08/2008 URL:

Surprise visit

CUDDALORE: A high-level official team led by Industry Secretary M.F. Farooqui made a surprise visit to the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here on Sunday to study various issues.

Energy Secretary Smita Nagaraj and Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board R. Balakrishnan were part of the team. Primarily, the team inspected the effluent treatment plant being managed by the special purpose vehicle, the Cuddalore SIPCOT Industries Common Utilities Ltd., and verified whether the units were adhering to pollution control norms.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our kind of rennovation

Historically we are the kind of people who bother least about conserving heritage sites and buildings. Lack of fund was stated as the reason by the state. But the recent economic boom has only worsened the situation. Worst destruction for the heritage buildings come in the name of renovation. Mindless renovation indeed.

Recently there was news about the destruction(cum renovation) of 500-year-old Varadaraja Perumal temple at Kancheepuram and demolition of 250-year-old Admiralty House in Chennai and 184-year-old Collectorate building in Salem. Such "assault on heritage" buildings gets noticed when there is massive large scale destruction. But minor renovations which goes unnoticed are equally destruction in course of time.

It is this kind of destruction that is happening in many of the government buildings in Cuddalore including District Collector's Office. This beautiful building is an classic example of a building in Indo-Saracenic style. The building under goes a continuous destruction for installing wiring, computers and air conditioners. Internal floor and walls of the building are covered with tiles (horrible colours). Glass doors and windows are taking the place of wooden doors and windows (for air conditioning the rooms/halls), which in no means fits architectural style of the building.

New portico and compound wall in Collector's Office, Cuddalore

A new portico was recently built at the entrance of this building. I could not imagine the need for such a structure at that place. This concrete structure at the front side of the building again doesn't fit the style of this old building. Another pity thing is that the building which houses Collector's Office and Government Treasury has ran out of space long back and lacks modern facilities, even which is available in neighbouring district like Villupuram. A new building is the only solution to get modern facilities and to prevent the building from further destruction.

In some cases, the sole reason for renovating the government buildings is to allocate fund to corrupt it to maximum extend. Tiles in the walls of government buildings has a reason - it is the tactics used by the corrupt PWD officials to show the world some work has taken place after corrupting away the allocated fund. Wood works in the old buildings are attractive targets of these corrupt officials. There are instances were century old buildings brought down completely to loot away the wood in it.

As this is the case with our government buildings, temples faces a different of threat. In many cases white wash is equated to renovation. Old inscription ? rare mural painting ? who cares, just wash - this is how renovation is viewed by educated and uneducated alike. In worst cases as with Varadaraja Perumal temple above, century old structures are demolished and replaced with concrete structures. Lakhs of "devotees" who plunge these temples don't pay any attention to depicted art forms. They are neither interested in knowing how our culture has evolved, nor they realise these art forms are windows to our past. As long as people are insensitive about protecting our monuments, it is easy go for government and its corrupt officials. If at all we have some heritage building left intact in our country, it is because of few good people in Archaeological Survey of India and organisations like INTACH.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Police lathicharges workers demanding safe working conditions

Police lathicharges workers demanding safe working conditions

Cuddalore, 12 August 2008: The Cuddalore police lathicharged more than 300 workers of CITU Union from Pioneer Miyagi yesterday for blocking the entrance of the unit while on strike. According to the sources this incident took place at about 4 pm yesterday when the workers from the unit and their family members full story>>

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Vehicle accident on Pennar Bridge

The mangled remains of the vehicle which was involved in a collision on the Pennar Bridge. This accident which occured today morning at about 6.15 a.m. had left two people dead.

Good morning Cuddalore

An enchanting sunrise on the river Pennar.
Location: Pennar River Bridge on Cuddalore - Pondy road.

Early morning Cuddalore
Anna bridge, River Gadilum