‘Corporation has facts on its side to fight the case’

The one-step-forward-two-step-backward phenomenon has hit again the Coimbatore Corporation in the Nanjundapuram Sewage Treatment Plant issue. On Tuesday last, the National Green Tribunal’s southern Bench restrained the civic body from resuming the STP work.

The Mayflower Sakthi Gardens Owners’ Association, the petitioners, contended that the STP’s location does not confirm to the criterion the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has laid. The STP site should at least be 500 m away from the residential area.

It was only on March 18 that the Corporation moved a resolution before the Council seeking the elected body’s approval to resume the STP construction. It said that a delay of 42 months has forced the Corporation to cough out an additional Rs. 17.50 crore.

It said that the Corporation issued work order in May 2008 to Hindustan Dorr Oliver Ltd., a Mumbai-based company, to start construction of the STP with a capacity to treat 40 million litres a day at the Nanjundapuram site. By April 28, 2009 the work had come to a halt as the residents of the area moved a court, opposing the construction of the STP.

After 42 months, in October 2012, the TNPCB gave the Corporation consent to establish order on the conditions that the civic body will shift the C-Tech Basin away from the residential buildings, increase the height of the compound, install odour mitigation system and increase the diesel generator capacity from 750 kVA to 1,250 kVA.

The Board also asked the Corporation to put in place a mechanism whereby it will be easy for the environment engineers at the TNPCB office in Chennai to monitor the functioning and maintenance of the STP on a real-time basis.

The Corporation sent the proposal to the office of the Chief Engineer at the office of the Commissioner for Municipal Administration, who, suggested a few changes and added that the Corporation could go ahead with the proposal provided it bore the cost from its general fund.

The Corporation took the proposal to the Council, which waved the green flag.

Sources in the civic body say that they are not worried as the Corporation is confident of getting the stay vacated. The civic body will highlight to the Bench that the Corporation pumped its untreated waste at the very site and now has chosen to treat the waste and pump it to River Noyyal.

The site has been a sewage farm for over for over 30 years. The sources point out that at the time of granting approval for the housing project, the residents of which are now opposing the STP, the Corporation has said that the sewage farm was nearby and that the project promoters were building the same at their risk knowing fully well the consequences.

The sources add that the civic body has facts on its side to fight the case and resume the work at the earliest.

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