“People living in Namakkal will be free from the stinking fish drying and processing mills in two weeks,” Commissioner of the Municipality S. Sezhiyan told The Hindu . He said that a total 13 fish drying yards and processing mills have been identified within the Municipal limits.

He noted that nine such units were identified in Nallipalayam while two units each were identified in Chinnamudalipatti and Mudalipatti.

Sanitary Officer of Namakkal Municipality R. Shanmugavel said that each unit sprawled on an area of more than one acre, with separate facilities for drying the fish, grinding and stocking it. They had a total stock of about 881 tonnes of dried and fresh fish wastes to be dried. The dry and ground stock is added to other feed ingredients and used as feed for the poultry industry.

He said that the mills employed about 250 labourers to dry and process about 150 tonnes of fish every day. “Each unit has a big yard to dry fish and decaying wastes of fish brought from seashores of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The units are clearing their pending stock and are also shifting their machinery.”

Mr. Sezhiyan said that a notice was issued to close down the units and shift them out of the town, following which four mills in Nallipalayam vacated during the last week of December, 2012. Three other units were sealed by officials from the Municipality, Revenue and Police Departments and officials from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on December 28.

This was because they continued bring fresh stocks of fish and fish wastes for drying and processing, against the direction of the Municipality. “The remaining units have started clearing their facility and are being closely monitored by the Sanitary Officer and Sanitary Inspectors of the Municipality,” the Commissioner added.

Meanwhile on Saturday (January 5) residents of Nallipalayam blocked four trucks loaded with fish wastes that were brought to two of the sealed units and took them to the Nallipalayam Police Station. Police and Municipal officials ordered the units to clear the godowns.