Public hearing to be held on April 11

A central empowered committee appointed by the Supreme Court will visit Kuttippadam in Vengola panchayat in Perumbavoor, from April 9 to 11, to examine complaints of pollution from plywood manufacturing units.

The three-member committee, headed by P.V. Jayakrishnan, had been formed in a case pending with the apex court on pollution caused by plywood units in residential areas in Perumbavoor.

The committee is being entrusted with the task after an earlier report submitted by another committee, consisting of representatives of the State Pollution Control Board, District Medical Officer and State-level Empowered Committee, was rejected by the apex court.

The case had been filed by T.K. Kurien, a resident of Vengola.

The committee will also hear complaints from residents of the areas affected by pollution from plywood units on April 11 at the public hearing to be held at Vengola panchayat hall.

The local authorities are yet to respond to the apex court’s proposal for shifting the plywood manufacturing units from residential areas to an exclusive industrial zone of 50 acres in the district, according to anti-pollution activists. Meanwhile, the Ernakulam district administration has issued orders to set up a panel consisting of officials from the pollution control board, medical authorities, labour department, fire and rescue department and other departments concerned to examine the issue of unlicensed plywood manufacturing units existing in Rayamangalam and Vengola where the pollution issue is acute. The Action Council for Environmental Protection, an organisation of people, had raised the issue and gone on a struggle including a fast unto death seeking redressal of their grievances.

One of the main complaints was that many units had violated the distance norm pertaining to setting up of the units from houses.

The distance norm was revised from 10 metres to 50 metres in November 2011. The EPC has demanded that licences of those units which had violated the distance norm be cancelled.

At least 300 units in the two panchayats belong to the category, according to the Action Council.

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