"Rampant" land acquisition for polluted industries in Caddalore, Tamil Nadu

The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)-sponsored Samvidhan Bachao Andolan, on reaching Tamil Nadu, found that in Cuddalore district, chemical industries have adversely affected about 50 villages. The yatra participants, who included senior social activists Prafulla Samantara, Sandeep Pandey, Gabriele Dietrich, Arundhati Dhuru, Ashish Ranjan, and Meera Sanghamitra, were told that land acquisition for industries is carried out by SIPCOT (State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamilnadu Ltd).
A major chunk of land is being acquired in the name of SIMA (South Indian Millers Association), which has acquired about 250 acres of land. However, their requirement is more than 400 acres. Local leaders said, Caddalore is already under severe pollution and it is also ranked 3rd in the Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI), which is a study done for understanding the extent of pollution by Central Pollution Control Board. The other two top polluted industrial estates are from Gujarat.
The area has been rich in farming, the soil is still fertile. However, in village Periyapattu, where the NAPM team met the People’s Committee for Protection of Livelihood, the pollution ordeal was rampant. There were leakage and seepage of industrial effluents, which are reaching farmers’ fields. There is a pipeline which goes into the sea to release the effluents. The local committee has been struggling against the pollution and the land grab since last decade.
Major issues raised by the local committee were: They have already lost much of their land under the SIPCOT scheme of industrial development; whatever land is remaining with us is being polluted by release of effluents; ground water has also got polluted and its colour has changed; and pollution is rampant while the local pollution control board and other responsible agencies are overlooking the problems.

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