Over 100 villagers from Vadugapalayam, Sirukinaru, Kannangkovil, Sangarandampalayam and Kolumanguli areas gheraoed the Collectorate on Monday raising fears that the setting up of a steel plant may pollute air and nearby water bodies.
The private steel company has proposed to set up the plant spread over an area of five acres in Vadugapalayam panchayat. With a total population of 25,000 people, the villager’s main source of livelihood is farming, cattle rearing and sericulture.
The villagers claimed that permission has been accorded to the unit without holding a proper public hearing. “We suspect senior officials of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) involved in corruption to have granted nod to the industrial unit without adhering to norms,” claimed the villagers.
“Once, if the plant comes up, the smoke and black dust emitted from the unit may have an adverse effect on agriculture in the area. It would also cause health issues, including respiratory problems and even cancer to people in surrounding villages. An ‘anganwadi’ and a Primary Health Centre (PHC) are located nearby. There is also a possibility for effluents from the plant to mix up in the Amaravathi River,” they alleged.
After petitioning Tirupur Collector S Vineeth, the villagers went to the TNPCB office in Palladam to express their resentment. They besieged the office and questioned how permission was given to the plant without holding a proper public hearing.