25 YEARS OF SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER

KATHIKUDAM to KALAKOODAM

A pipeline distance to disaster

Jananeethi Report on Nitta Gelatin India Limited’s pollution was discussed by subject experts

at 5.00 pm, Saturday, 17th July 2010 At Kerala Sahitya Academy, Vyloppilly Hall, Thrissur.

Dr.M.P.Parameswaran & Prof.K.R.Janardhanan

presented their comments and invited floor participation. There as huge response from the audience .

Professor K.R. Janardhanan

(Post Graduation in Chemistry from Benarese University. Retired as Professor & Head, Department of Chemistry, NSS College, Nenmara; Formerly the President of Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad; Heads the academic activities of KSSP; Serves in the National Team of NCERT; Guest Faculty to several Universities in India.)

"Whither we should go? The most fragile ecosystem is not good for chemical industries. Should we want industry, or environment? You can perhaps live with out industry, but you cannot live without unpolluted air and unpolluted water."

It has been an accepted fact from early 1970s that Kerala is not suitable for mega industries. The landscape of Kerala, its contour, the many rivers and rivulets, and many other eco-social reasons the land of Kerala is not ideal for hazardous industries. Chemicals are not always dangerous, the use of chemicals are indications of industrial growth of a community. Chemicals are used in pharmaceuticals and in food items predominantly. However, in consideration of the world-wide climate change and environmental catastrophes, there have been stringent laws to control and regulate chemical industries all over the globe.

It is a matter of pride to India, it was our prime minister, Mrs.Indira Gandhi together with her Swedish counter-part, in 1972 inStockholm, declared that there was no political boundaries to pollution; it did not confine itself to any specific locality, region or country. But later in Rio, there was expressed realization of the importance of environmental protection by overwhelming presence of 130 heads of States or their nominees. Including the transportation of hazardous waste there were more 10 to 14 new covenants for environmental protection. It resulted in a way, in an environmental ‘globalization’. However, it had to face heavy blows towards the end of 1990s. Economic ‘globalization’ replaced environmental ‘globalization’ drastically. The exploitation of natural resources was no more a concern. All were frantically after development, industries became symbol of development. Hence, there were new legislations / amendments of existing laws for facilitation of imports of finished or unfinished goods for the purpose of industries. Employment generation was highlighted as the single passage to self reliance.

Whither we should go? The most fragile ecosystem is not good for chemical industries. Should we want industry, or environment? You can perhaps live with out industry, but you cannot live without unpolluted air and unpolluted water.

Nitta Gelatin India Limited is making huge profits at the cost of our natural resources. The products of NGIL are invariably very very expensive. Therefore, the NGIL is and should be in a position to spend any amount to compensate to the damages it has caused n the foregone years, and to restore the ecological well being of the locality by adopting appropriate technology, available today.

The occupational hazards and the environmental havoc caused by the NGIL do not affect the management of the company; it affects the workers in and outside the company, the local inhabitants and the environment. Therefore, there should not be a tension between the people and the workers. The protests and agitations by the people are for the benefits of the workers too.

The report by the Jananeethi Institute is a commendable work. We badly needed this report. Often, in many of similar situations we fail to substantiate our contentions only because we do not have dependable data with us.

There is a shocking revelation in the report given by the Radiotracer lab of Kerala Agricultural University. The compost sample given by the NGIL to the KAU lab proves that it has the presence of 2485 ppm of lead which is disastrous indeed. If it is true, I wonder how the workers in the company survive!! No wonder, workers of the company complain of several health problems. The presence of nickel also is dangerously high in the compost. And, this dangerous solid waste has been marketed as manure for food crops across the country. We need a comprehensive law to deal with all the violations involved and the damages caused.

I am sure the report of Jananeethi Institute will take the struggle by the people against the pollutant company to further heights and in a wider ambience.

Prof. K.R. Janardharan

Media

Our Journey

1991 Jananeethi office inaugurated
1992 - May 13 Registration of Jananeethi Society
1992 December

Formal Inauguration

Initial services included – public adalats (neethimela), free legal aid, legal literacy, mediation & reconciliation and public interest litigation. Started campaign against torture, death penalty, dowry, child labour and trafficking.

1993 Launch of Jananeethi Publication
1994 Women’s Desk
1996 Environmental Advocacy launched
2000 Helpline for women, children and elderly in distress started
Declaration of first litigation-free village in Thichoor in Varavoor Panchayat
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