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May 5, 2009

Residents protest against ST Plant !

Residents of some colonies along Nanjundapuram Road in the city have planned a fast and demonstration in the city on May 5 to oppose the sewage treatment plant that the Coimbatore Corporation is establishing on 6.2 acres it owns. The Corporation already has a sewage pumping station on this site.Alleging health hazards already from the pumping station, they say that the treatment plant will be too close to the residential buildings and could therefore cause serious health problems. They want it shifted to another site belonging to the Corporation.

The Corporation allays the fears of the residents by saying that state-of-the-art technology will be used to prevent pollution.The residents’ Nanjundapuram Welfare Association has moved the High Court against the project. The court recently passed an interim order that further work could be continued after getting due clearance from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

The order was based on the undertaking the Corporation gave to the court that works would resume only after getting the “consent to establish” (the plant) from the board. Association president N.M. Venkatesan and resident D.H. Malani told presspersons recently that the treatment plant structures were only 20 feet from the compound of a residential building. There were other houses also nearby, they said. “We had given four to five petitions to the Corporation, but there was no response,” Mr. Malani said.Citing rules, the association said sewage treatment facilities should be located more than 1500 ft from human habitation. It also said the residents might stage a demonstration and even boycott the elections if no solution was assured.

Reacting to this, Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra said the residents came to this area only after the pumping station was established. He said prior permission was required only in the case of a new sewage processing facility. With a pumping station already in place on this site, the Corporation had to apply to the pollution control board only for the consent to establish the plant.There was a delay in getting the consent as the Corporation had to re-submit its application in a new format. The Commissioner said the pollution control board officials too had inspected the site.

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