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.