Villagers want bio-medical unit closed

“Many died due to kidney failure, and many more suffer from lung infection”

Updated - October 21, 2015 05:47 am IST

Published - October 21, 2015 12:00 am IST - Tiruchuli (Virudhunagar district):

A view of a private bio-medical waste disposal unit; (right) a poster pasted at Tiruchuli in Virudhunagar district.

A view of a private bio-medical waste disposal unit; (right) a poster pasted at Tiruchuli in Virudhunagar district.

Demanding closure of a private bio-medical waste disposal unit in this backward region, people in 12 villages have demanded Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s immediate intervention as they claimed that many had died due to ailments like kidney failure and many more suffered from lung infection.

Recently, a major private hospital in Madurai conducted a health camp at A. Mukkulam in Tiruchuli taluk. The medical reports of the individuals screened at the camp have shocked the entire hamlet.

According to the reports, out of the 159 persons screened, 72 had kidney-related problems, 42 had symptoms of asthma and others had developed allergies. Those with kidney problems have been undergoing dialysis and two days ago, a 20-year-old died.

The villagers attribute the health problems to the presence of the bio-medical waste disposal plant in the locality.

The villagers have signed a memorandum (with thumb impression), with their ration card numbers registered, demanding the closure of the unit.

Speaking to The Hindu , A. Thangapandian, a villager, said that while the gram sabha meetings held in the villages in the region passed resolutions for the closure of the unit, the village in which the factory was located had even resolved not to accept any taxes from them.


“When the unit was established seven years ago, we were unaware of the nature of the product the company had planned to manufacture. When some of us made inquiries, the company officials said that they were going to make pharmaceutical drugs. Later, people started complaining of health complications – which were unheard of in our villages – and we were apprehensive of danger to our lives,” he said.

In the recent times the situation alarmingly turned from bad to worse, said Muthumanickam of the hamlet. “Even yesterday, after a villager developed problems, the 108 medical emergency vehicle came to our village. When we informed our Collector, he directed Tiruchuli Tahsildar to inquire into it,” he said.

“Company run as per norms”

A senior official representing the company, however, said that they had been disposing of bio-medical waste accumulated from all government and major private hospitals from Virudhunagar, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Theni and Dindigul districts.

After obtaining permission from the authorities concerned the unit started functioning, he said, adding management of bio-medical waste was governed under the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, framed under the Environment (Protection) Act.

Apart from this, certificates from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) had been obtained under the Air Act and Water Act respectively.

Ash for land filling

A senior TNPCB official said that the factory adopted methods of shredding, autoclaving and incineration. The ash was used for land filling, which was also provided inside the factory premise.

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