The people’s action group protesting against polluting plywood manufacturing units in Perumbavoor and nearby localities in Ernakulam district scored a strategic victory on Saturday when a panchayat in the area initiated action for cancelling the licences of two units. The final decision will be taken within 10 days by which time a report from the Pollution Control Board (PCB) is expected.

Koovappady panchayat president P.Y. Paulose told The Hindu that a sub-committee constituted by the panchayat had looked into the issue raised by the people’s group.

The panel made a spot study and found that pollution from the units posed a threat to houses in areas near the two units. Though the licences were granted by the panchayat about seven years ago the issue of pollution had been brought to the notice of the panchayat a month ago, he said.

A meeting of representatives of the people’s group, the company concerned and the panchayat was held on Saturday in which the PCB was also expected to take part.

However, the PCB official failed to turn up. The panchayat sub-committee has asked the PCB to give a report by January 15.

Meanwhile, the Paristhithi Samrakshana Karma Samithi, which is undertaking a ‘fast unto death’ stir in front of the collectorate, has decided to take out a march to the District Medical Officer’s office at Ernakulam General Hospital, on January 19. About 500 residents would participate in the march, Samithi president Varghese Pulluvazhy told The Hindu .

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