Creation of value-added opportunities to traditional economies suggested
CUDDALORE: After a
public hearing on the proposals to set up new units in the SIPCOT
Industrial Estate here, an expert committee has concluded that the move
will aggravate pollution problem and threaten a long-term economic
sustainability of the region. The committee urged the Tamil Nadu
Government to abandon any proposals to set up new units, particularly
the groundwater-intensive ones.
committee suggested creation of value-added opportunities to
traditional economies such as fisheries, agriculture and weaving. The
proposed Southern India Mills Association Textile Park, the Chemplast
Sanmar poly-vinyl chloride and Nagarjuna petroleum refinery were
certainly not in the interest of the local people, and hence, must be
given up, it noted.
In its report
"Environmental and Human Rights Violations in SIPCOT Complex,
Cuddalore", the committee pointed out that the public hearing had
brought to limelight the fact that the companies having a political
clout could get away with their intransigence on the pollution front.
It said the
pervasive bad odour, the devastated environment and a host of health
complaints of residents made the living in the area miserable.
among the local youth was palpable and the continued collusion between
the officials and the polluters could result in a serious law and order
situation, it cautioned. The committee squarely blamed the Tamil Nadu
Pollution Control Board and the Inspector of Factories for the
negligence in dealing with polluting and hazardous industries in the
It said that rather
than improving the local economy, the industries had eroded the
self-sufficiency of the region, by throwing weavers, fishermen and
farmers out of their traditional livelihood.
expenditure, combined with lower incomes, had impoverished the
communities, and compromised their ability to exercise healthy choices.
The public hearing
panel was constituted by the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental
Monitoring, the Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation,
and the Community Environmental Monitoring programme of The Other
comprised Prof. S. Janakarajan of Madras Institute of Development
Studies, Prof. R. Saraswathi, former Head of Department, Department of
Sociology in Queen Mary's College, and Rakhal Gaithonde, a community
health physician from the Community Health Cell.