The Nitta Gelatin India Limited (NGIL), a company which produces ossein and limed ossein at its facility in Kathikudam, suspended operations on Saturday after traces of pollutants were allegedly found in a canal and paddy fields in the locality.
The NGIL Action Council, which had been agitating against alleged environmental pollution caused by the NGIL, said the pollutants had contaminated water sources and agricultural fields, and affected the lives of local people.
“We will strengthen the agitation and will not allow the company to open its effluent discharge line again,” said Anil Kumar, spokesman for the council.The NGIL alleged that members of the Action Council were behind the development.
“The pipe from the company that discharges treated water was blocked by a few members of the Action Council. A section of the pipe that passes through a stretch of private property is controlled by the Action Council. They cut the pipe and blocked it with concrete and then re-directed the discharge to an area near a water intake well of the company. They also discharged diesel and engine oil in the canal.
“This affected the intake of water into the company. It cannot be used to make the company’s product, gelatin, used mainly for medical purposes,” said Joe Joseph, Manager (HR), a spokesman for NGIL. He alleged that the Action Council had committed a ‘mischief’ ahead of the talks called by the Industries Minister scheduled for October 18. The NGIL had lodged complaints with the Chief Minister, Industries Minister and the Director General of Police.
HC notice to NEERI
The Kerala High Court has impleaded the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) as additional respondent and issued a notice to it in a case relating to Nitta Gelatin.
The court issued an order on a petition moved by the company in response to a suggestion by the court that an agency be appointed to study the alleged environmental pollution caused by Nitta Gelatin, a joint venture between Nitta Gelatin of Japan and KSIDC.
The company said NEERI was one of the reputed authorities in the country on environmental matters. NEERI had conducted similar studies under the directives of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Besides, the reputed research institution had also conducted in-depth studies on polluted rivers included the Ganga.
In a media release issued here, the management alleged that though the High Court order for police protection was in force, the action council was hindering the smooth operation of the factory.