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Section of Nitta Gelatin workers block visiting MLA at factory

Special Correspondent
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Report on the firm will be submitted to government: Collector

INSPECTION: A delegation led by District Collector P.M. Francis inspects Nitta Gelatin India Limited at Kathikudam on the Thrissur-Kochi border on Friday. — Photo: By special arrangement
INSPECTION: A delegation led by District Collector P.M. Francis inspects Nitta Gelatin India Limited at Kathikudam on the Thrissur-Kochi border on Friday. — Photo: By special arrangement

A section of workers of Nitta Gelatin India Limited (NGIL) on Friday blocked T.N. Prathapan, MLA, as he arrived at the company's ossein manufacturing facility at Kathikudam as part of a delegation led by District Collector P.M. Francis to inspect the site.

The district administration had stalled production at NGIL's manufacturing facility after a tank of the company's biogas plant burst on November 1, spewing sludge into its premises and nearby areas.

At a meeting held at the collectorate on November 10, Mr. Prathapan had strongly argued that the company should not be allowed to resume production till it solved the environmental problems it allegedly caused.

When Mr. Prathapan arrived, the workers shouted slogans and blocked him. “Environmentalist Prathapan go back, We want work,” they shouted.

Mr. Prathapan threatened to stage a sit-in at the company if he was denied entry to the manufacturing facility. Senior officials with the company intervened, pacified the workers and Mr. Prathapan was allowed in.

“I am proud that they called me an environmentalist. Any move to pollute the Chalakudy river and deny people of their right to pure air and water should be opposed. I suspect that the group that blocked me included those who were not employed with the company,” Mr. Prathapan told mediapersons.

The delegation later inspected the site. It included B.D. Devassy, MLA, and representatives of the Health and Water Resources Departments.

“The district administration will submit a report on the issue within two or three days to the State government,” said Mr. Francis.

“The Nitta Gelatin India Action Council and some local residents allege that the company perpetrates environmental pollution. Workers criticise moves against the company. The district administration will apprise the government of different views on the issues, including those of technical experts,” he said.

The action council has been agitating for long against alleged disposal of untreated effluents from NGIL into the Chalakudy river.

The company produces ossein and limed ossein, intermediaries in gelatin manufacture.

Ossein gelatin is derived from de-greased, hard animal bones that are washed and then leached with dilute hydrochloric acid.

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