A total of 13 highrises at Padur near Siruseri IT Park have received Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) notices to pay 25 lakh to ₹81 lakh each as penalty for violating environmental laws.
C Meiyappan, a Chengalpet resident, had filed a case with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on dumping of waste into Muttukadu backwater and a graveyard at Padur. Photographs and other evidence suggested that tankers were roped in to illegally dump sewage. A police case was filed but no action has been taken till date.
A preliminary investigation by the revenue department said that many highrises in gated communities do not have functional sewage treatment plants (STPs). Partly treated waste from these plants are illegally connected to storm water drains on OMR, which are meant to carry only excess rainwater.
When the tribunal asked if the building owners had been punished, the local block development officer said that they had issued only notices and no penalty had been imposed till date.
The officer told NGT if the STPs are made functional, the problem would be resolved. Following this, the BDO and TNPCB in December last year were told to convene a meeting with the owners and arrive at a permanent solution.
Accordingly, when TNPCB met them, they found that 13 apartment complexes in Padur were running their STPs without obtaining government nod. These owners were issued notices asking them to pay 6.3 crore for causing damage to the environment.
S Rajan, additional chief environmental engineer of the board on September 8 told the NGT that after obtaining individual responses from the violators, steps would be taken to remit this amount.
The case will be heard again on October 9.