20 July 2014

State Human Rights panel visits Steel Industries Kerala unit

TNN reported that amid charges that the ship breaking and building unit of Steel Industries Kerala Limited, a public sector undertaking in Azhikkal, has been generating hazardous pollutants, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) visited the unit and recorded people's complaints on Thursday.

According to commission member Mr KE Gangadharan, who visited the site, the concerns seem to be genuine. But the management of SILK has been ignoring the issue.

Mr Gangadharan said that "Many have complained of itching and inflammation in their eyes. Lack of immediate action might lead to serious issues. A study is required to assess the gravity of the situation. Despite examples like the Kasaragod endosulfan tragedy, we pay no heed to such issues."

He said that the management of SILK apparently have little interest in running the unit as per rules and that there seem to be gross violations. In the wake of our findings, we will submit a report to the government and recommend proper action. The unit does not even have a licence from the panchayat.

However, the management of SILK said that they have taken all safety measures and that efforts are on to get a licence from Azhikode panchayat.

Mr P Manoharan the unit's manager said that "At a recent meeting called by the district collector, we were given guidelines and we are trying to implement them. Efforts are also on to get a licence from the panchayat after renewing the certificate from the pollution control board (PCB),"

However, the management has no answer as to why it failed to get licence from the panchayat though the unit was established in 1984. Incidentally, the collector has given them an ultimatum to obtain all licences and environmental clearance by July 21, failing which they will be asked to close down.

Mr Pavithran K president of panchayat said that “The management has been trying to obtain the licence only since receiving the ultimatum, according to Azhikode panchayat. "Earlier this week, we got an application from SILK for the licence. But they have no PCB certificate, without which licence can't be issued.”

Sourcesteel guru. 20 July 2014

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