Staff Reporter

Earlier promises yet to be kept by TNPL, allege people

Cement plant to cost Rs. 78.11 crore

Effluents have destroyed fertile area: MLA

KARUR: Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Ltd’s effort to establish a cement plant in its Kagithapuram factory near here ran into rough weather with the public in the neighbourhood taking strong exception to the move, alleging rampant violation of pollution control norms and failing to keep the promises made with regard to employment to the locals in the task.

Public of TNPL neighbourhood demanded that the TNPL management should first take effort to stop polluting the water sources including the river Cauvery and stop forthwith widespread infringement of nature and ecology.

They should also deliver on the promises made about various welfare activities and employment to the locals who have either donated land to the TNPL paper mill or have suffered due to the effluent being discharged by the factory.

The TNPL has prepared a blue print for starting a cement plant under the Lime Sludge Management System at cost of Rs. 78.11 crore.

A public hearing held to assess the mood of the people revealed that while a majority of the people wanted the wrong to be corrected by the TNPL, some felt that the cement plant project could proceed after the TNPL meets its obligation to the public.

A farmer _ R. Ganesh of Pazhamapuram _ complained that many of the promises including drinking water facility, free education and some other basic amenities being claimed to be extended by the TNPL were nothing when compared to the factory’s onslaught on nature. The affected areas need more support from the management and the governmental agencies. Only then TNPL should be allowed to erect a cement plant, he said.

Mr. Shanmugam of the Communist Party of India complained that those who donated the land for constructing the factory several years back are yet to get the promised jobs. If the complaint was not attended to immediately, his party would be constrained to launch agitation against the proposed plant.

Another farmer Subramani of Pugalur observed that the effluent discharged from the TNPL have devastated vast tracks of fertile land between Punjaithottakurichi and Nerur. The Government should not allow TNPL to pollute air also after having wrecked water.

Yet another farmer, Periasamy, wondered when the TNPL would keep its promise of helping land donors and extend promised benefits.

Former Karur MLA T. N. Siva Subramanian complained that the TNPL’s effluent had devastated the fertile Pugalur area of Karur district known for its varied crops. The Punjaithottakurichi people had filed a case in the Madras High Court which had given fifteen recommendations to TNPL. However, they remain on paper.

He said that the TNPL management has paid scant regard for them and called for better appreciation on the part of the factory with regard to people’s sensitivity and requirement.

Kagithapuram town Panchayat President Muthu wanted the TNPL to implement the thirteen-point charter of demands which the factory management had agreed to during talks sometime back. Prior to the establishment of the plant, due precaution should be exercised with regard to environment management, he said.

District Collector in-charge P. Muniratnam said that the people’s objections have been taken note of and would be forwarded as a document and necessary action would be recommended. Karur Sub-Collector Hanish Chabbra, Deputy Managing Director A. Velliangiri, General Manager R. Mani, Francis Devotta and B. Ramakrishnan spoke. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Velliangiri detailed the various steps the TNPL was taking to safeguard environment and the welfare benefits being undertaken for the neighbourhood people.