CHENNAI — Welcoming the press release by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board that the delay is caused by Unilever and not the TNPCB, activists with Chennai Solidarity Group urged TNPCB to ensure that the Detailed Project Report is commissioned by the Board and not Unilever. “This is what would be in line with the directions of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee and the Local Area Environment Committee,” said Nityanand Jayaraman of the Chennai Solidarity Group.
The group released the minutes of a meeting of the Local Area Committee in 2005 where it was clearly pointed out that “TNPCB is directed to make an assessment of the extent of contamination and to calculate the costs involved in rehabilitation/remediation of the contaminated areas. . .TNPCB is further responsible for ensuring that the costs of such remediation are borne by HLL, if necessary by invoking Rule 16(2) of the HW Rules.”
“The public has low confidence in Unilever’s studies and pronouncements. Besides, there is a mechanism for independent verification that is paid for by polluter. The TNPCB should conduct the assessment and DPR and recover the money from Unilever,” said G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal.
Commending the TNPCB’s new leadership for opening up the process to public consultation through the Local Area Committee, Jayaraman said: “Tamil Nadu has dealt strictly with Unilever in the past, and we are happy that the Board’s reassurance that the highest standards of consultation and clean-up will be adhered to.”
The Chennai Solidarity Group also observed that the TNPCB press release debunked a number of other claims made by Unilever that they had closed down voluntarily and had cleaned up and exported the wastes voluntarily.
An online petition on jhatkaa.org/unilever has garnered more than 50,000 supporters.
For more information, contact:
Nityanand Jayaraman, Chennai Solidarity Group: 9444082401
G. Sundarrajan, Poovulgain Nanbargal – 9841031730