Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB )officials on Tuesday closed down a ready-mix concrete plant on Ambedkar Salai at Sunnambu Kolathur near Pallikaranai, set up only a week ago, after it was found that it did not have the consent to operate.
The plant was preparing the concrete mix to supply to contractors for construction of storm water drains.
Udhayakumar, TNPCB environment engineer for Chengalpet district under which Sunnambu Kolathur falls, told that in residential areas ready-mix concrete (RMC) plants can be set up only on land whose owner is engaged in the construction.
“They are not allowed for commerical purposes in residential areas,” he said, adding that many units are, however, set up without permission and that the TNPCB comes to know of them only when residents complain.
This particular unit was closed down after residents petitioned the TNPCB following RTI replies that it didn’t have consent to be set up or operate.
J Shankar, a RTI activist and resident of S Kolathur, said this was not an isolated case.
“Even last month, a plant set up two streets away was shut after protests. Most are set up in plots measuring half an acre to one acre and supply construction companies and civic contractors. Unless the rules are implemented by municipalities, corporations and other local bodies on procurement of such material, such illegal units will continue to thrive,” he said.
Asked how such plants can pollute the air, TNPCB member secretary R Kannan said that since there are strict guidelines on operating in residential areas and since they are required to procure costly equipment to reduce air pollution, most such operators use illegal methods and don’t even apply for permission or approval.
“We need to work with the local bodies to stop these illegal units as they have the manpower and they can also easily set up the units through paperwork done by contractors. None of these owners procure the required no-objection certificate or the consent letter to establish the plants and operate them. If the rules are implemented, illegal units can be stopped,” he said.