Chalakudy river, allegedly polluted by firm, is lifeline for many

The Nitta Gelatin India Limited (NGIL) in Kathikkudam, which has been in the eye of a storm over the pollution of Chalakudy river, is contemplating steps to implement the recommendations by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to improve the efficacy of its environment management systems.

Interacting with the media here on Tuesday, Sajiv K. Menon, the newly-appointed managing director of the company said NGIL was committed to implement all the 23 recommendations given in the report, which was submitted last month. “We have deputed an engineering team, which is preparing a detailed plan to implement the measures suggested by the report and will soon break into specific activities under the supervision of the State Pollution Control Board,” he said, adding that the cost of implementation was estimated to be around Rs.4 crore.

It was on December 3, 2013, that the High Court of Kerala directed NEERI to conduct a detailed study into the environmental pollution from the NGIL.

Asserting that the protests against the company has taken a toll on the company’s financial performance in last fiscal, Mr. Menon said the operations, however, had been back to normal for the last six months. The official also said the company was ready to have dialogues with the action council representatives leading the protest and had already begun reaching out to members of the local panchayat council to seek their feed backs on the company’s pollution control measures. “The local community appears primarily concerned about the foul smell emanating during the production process, which, we have managed to cut down with a series of green measures, including the setting up of a biogas plant in March,” he said.

The discontent against the company over the discharge of sludge snowballed into a campaign and major stir last year when thousands of fish died in the Chalakudy river, which is the lifeline to the people of around 18 panchayats in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts.

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