Toe line or face music, leather units told

Grievance redressal meet:Vellore CollectorR. Nanthagopal convenes a meeting with tannery owners and CETP management in Vellore on Friday. — Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy  

The district administration has warned leather industries in Vellore of stern action if they fail to adhere to rules and regulations.

With the recent accident at the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Ranipet SIDCO Industrial Estate that killed 10 workers sounding the wake-up call for officials, Collector R. Nanthagopal on Friday convened a meeting with owners of leather industries and management of CETPs to ensure safety of workers.

He said that owners should work with sense of responsibility to prevent loss of lives due to lack of safety in the future. The district administration will take stringent action in case of violations.

Mr. Nanthagopal also said that the management of CETPs will also face legal action if their member tannery units violate rules.

“All leather industries should adhere to rules laid down by the government for workplace safety measures. Steps should be taken to enable workers to utilise proper safety gears,” he told the industrialists.

He said that officials of the Revenue Department and Pollution Control Board will carry out inspections to ensure safety at these industries and submit reports. Gaps pointed out in the reports should be corrected immediately.

A training programme on creating awareness on safety measures for industry owners of Ambur, Vaniyambadi, Pernambut, Arcot and Ranipet will also be held next week, he added.

Ponsingh Mohan Ram, additional director, Industrial Safety and Health, asked the owners not to store raw effluents and send it to the CETP on a day-to-day basis. “Big tanks are constructed to store the effluents. This is where problems arise. Effluents should be processed to the CETPs on a daily basis,” he said. He asked the owners to form research and development centres and to come up with better ways of managing effluents. He said sumps should be of less than five feet height.

Vellore district has eight CETPs and 26 individual ETPs. Abdur Rahman, plant manager of VANITEC Limited said the CETP has been functioning for 25 years and no untoward incident has occurred as safety measures have been put in place.

They have been engaging machinery in clearing slurry. “We also introduced sewer jetting machine five years ago,” he said. Owners assured to take safety measures to prevent Ranipet-like incidents in future. They said they will create awareness among members and strictly inform on necessary safety measures.

They requested help from scientists and chemists to defuse hydrogen sulphide, a main component in the effluents, that is hazardous.