TAMIL NADU

Villagers demand closure of bio-medical incinerator unit

UP IN ARMS:Villagers staging a protest at Tiruchuli Tahsildar’s office, demanding closure of a bio-medical incinerator at A. Mukkulam on Thursday.— Photo: G. Moorthy

UP IN ARMS:Villagers staging a protest at Tiruchuli Tahsildar’s office, demanding closure of a bio-medical incinerator at A. Mukkulam on Thursday.— Photo: G. Moorthy  

More than 200 residents of villages in A. Mukkulam area laid siege to Tiruchuli Tahsildar’s office on Thursday, demanding closure of a bio-medical incinerator unit at A. Mukkulam as “pollution caused by its smoke had killed scores of people in the last six years”.

Several people died due to kidney failure and many others were suffering from cancer and infertility, they claimed.

They refused to disperse till the officials gave a written undertaking to close the unit. The villagers who assembled there in the forenoon surrendered their voter identity cards and threatened to boycott the Assembly elections in the afternoon, when the officials sought time to order closure of Ramky Energy and Environment Limited.

When the peace committee meeting, chaired by Revenue Divisional Officer Selvi, started, State convenor of People’s Right Protection Centre S. Vanjinathan complained that the district administration had not taken any concrete steps to vacate the stay given by the High Court on closure of the unit for the last three years.

Though the then Collector ordered its closure in 2013, the unit continued its operation, he said.

Stating that the district administration had accepted that the issue was snowballing into law and order problem, he said that the Collector and the RDO, with their powers of Executive Magistrate, could order its closure under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

He also cited a case wherein the Cheranmahadevi Sub-Collector ordered closure of a fish processing unit in Idinthakarai in Tirunelveli district following complaints that bad odour emanating from the unit caused vomiting and dizziness to people and death of two goats.

Even as the RDO and Tiruchuli Tahsildar Chinnadurai were holding talks with the agitated people, the Returning Officer for Tiruchuli Assembly Constituency Thiagarajan said that the officials could not act in haste on the issue, and it triggered chaos at the meeting hall.

Scores of people waiting outside the office barged into the hall and shouted at the officials. Many women squatted inside the hall threatening to boycott the Assembly polls.

Assurance

The villagers gave up their agitation at 9.30 p.m. after the RDO promised that the District Revenue Officer would hold a meeting to discuss the issue at the RDO office on Saturday.

Recommended for you