Officials attached to the Environment and Forests Department and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) are now receiving regular complaints from the public over noise and air pollution.
The growing awareness about pollution and the conversion of agricultural lands has increased the number of complaints, admitted department insiders, adding that the pressure is mounting on officials. Residents of in Ambattur, Mel Ayannambakkam, Koladi, Sriperumbudur, Manali, Ennore and Red Hills area are periodically suffering air and water pollution and complaints from these areas are regular, a confidential source said, confirming that there were no records maintained on these complaints that were received against small units that cause pollution and menace to residents.
“Our residential complex comes under CMDA approved layout. As per the land use records, the locality is listed as the primary residential type. But this residential layout is surrounded by agricultural land. These agricultural lands are rented out illegally to the industries, which contribute to air, noise and water pollution,” said N Narayanan, a resident of Ayanambakkam.
“I have reported illegal sandblasting units to the TNPCB and CMCELL many times but no action has been taken. Residents are often threatened by the miscreants if we object to the polluting industries said,” K Arun, a resident of Koladi. We have also shared the videos of air pollution with State officials and through social media, he added.
When contacted, a senior government official admitted that the number of complaints from Mel Ayanambakkam and Koladi has increased but there is no provision for the environment and TNPCB officials to act like police or revenue department where lock and seal are instant. In some cases, the polluting units do approach the court and drag out the issue, the official said.
The public and environment activists regularly petition the department and Chief Minister’s cell over unchecked air and water pollution, but very little is being done, said environmental activist K Mohanraj, who had filed several complaints against illegal Bricklin operators near Thadagam valley in Coimbatore.