Cement firm pays ₹45 lakh compensation for causing air pollution

Madukkarai Cement Works,, the Coimbatore-based plant of cement major ACC Limited (ACC), paid an environmental compensation of ₹45 lakh for violating air pollution norms, said an official of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control (TNPCB) here.

P. Manimaran, District Environmental Engineer (DEE), Coimbatore South, told The Hindu that the company remitted the fine within the prescribed time based on the order dated November 20.

The TNPCB order said that it investigated a telephonic complaint received from the residents of Kurumbapalayam village on June 6 and 18, this year.

During investigation, TNPCB noticed fugitive emissions in the clinker storage yard during the unloading of clinker from wagon, fly ash silo, cement bag conveyor and all around the premises during vehicle movement, said the order.

The DEE issued a letter on June 18 instructing the unit to take air pollution control measures, it said.

As per the order, TNPCB further received an online complaint regarding fugitive emissions from Rajeshselva of Kurumbapalayam village, which is located adjacent to the eastern side of the factory premises on August 3. Palanisamy from the village complained to the TNPCB on the ill-effects of the fugitive emissions from the industry on August 21.

An inspection carried out on August 21 found particulate matter of clinker/cement on the premises of a house in the village and a temple. During inspection of the unit, it was noticed that manual handling operations were carried out using excavator in open yard for clinker and fly ash.

Based on another complaint received on August 26, an ambient air quality survey was conducted at the unit on September 18 and 19.

The survey found that parameter such as Particulate Matter (PM10) exceeded the standard prescribed by the board on the scaffoldings of Patteswarar and Pattchai Nayagiamman temple, the house of M. Athavan at Kurmbapalayam and ‘D’ type quarters of the unit adjacent to the unloading bay.

The board also found that the unit procured 181.442 kilo tonnes of clinker from sister concern works from May to September this year which exceeded the consented clinker procurement quantity of 94.58 kilo tonnes for five months.

It issued a show cause notice to the unit on October 12 and the reply submitted by the unit was not satisfactory.

Later, the Revenue Divisional Officer (Coimbatore South) held a peace committee meeting with the public, officials from TNPCB and the Police Department. A joint inspection was conducted on November 6 in which various non-compliances were observed.

An officer of the rank of Joint Chief Environmental Engineer worked out the environmental compensation as per an order of the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal based on ‘Polluter Pay Principle’.

Apart from directing the unit to pay the environmental compensation, TNPCB has also directed it to comply with 19 instructions for air pollution control and monitoring within a month.

Though The Hindu contacted ACC through an email on Thursday, to check if the firm had to say anything on the order, there was no response after 24 hours.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 9:56:53 AM |

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