PCB, councillors lock horns over HIL pollution allegation

Councillors of Eloor municipality on Tuesday laid siege to the environment surveillance centre of the State Pollution Control Board at Eloor. The protest was to press for their demands including action against the public-sector Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. (HIL) for allegedly dumping chemical effluents in to the Kuzhikandam creek.

Municipal authorities had issued a notice to the HIL management on Monday directing them to remove the outlet carrying effluents into the creek. The notice was issued after residents complained that the dumping had triggered a foul smell in the region.

The health wing of the local body asked the company authorities to discharge only those effluents permissible as per the guidelines issued by the State Pollution Control Board. The officials had also directed the management to store the effluents at a facility inside the company premises.

HIL officials, who met municipal authorities on Tuesday afternoon, rejected reports that the company was responsible for the foul smell in the area. The outlet carrying effluents was set up according to the norms prescribed by the pollution control board. The company had consent to operate it, they said.

The councillors alleged that the board was not co-operating in local people’s efforts to check pollution of the Kuzhikandam creek. A ward member had earlier accused board officials of demanding identify proof of people passing information on effluent dumping in the region before inspecting the area.

They also blamed the board for not asking Merchem Ltd. at Eloor to release its share towards the free water supply scheme for Eloor residents. They said FACT Ltd., which co-ordinates the operation of the scheme, had said that it was not possible to continue the scheme for want of funds.

Denying the allegations, board officials at the surveillance centre said they had already issued a letter to Merchem asking the management to remit the arrears towards the free water supply scheme. Referring to the HIL issue, they said the municipality had questioned the consent to operate the effluent outlet issued by the board. The officials said they had requested the identity proof of people alerting them on effluent dumps after repeated incidents where they landed up amidst angry crowds accusing them of inaction against companies in the region.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 11:19:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pcb-councillors-lock-horns-over-hil-pollution-allegation/article4191414.ece

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