Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pharmaceutical Company at Kurumbapet given closure order

The Puducherry Pollution Control Committee (PPCC) has issued a closure order to Taica Labs, a pharmaceutical company in Kurumbapet.

Special Secretary to Government and Chairman of the PPCC G. Theva Neethi Dhas told The Hindu that the unit had been issued directions for closure, for unauthorised manufacture of liquid formulations such as tonics.

Environmental Engineer of the PPCC N. Ramesh said that the directions were issued with the approval of the Chairman of the PPCC and the recommendation of Member Secretary G. Rajmohan.

The Department of Electricity had also been directed to stop power supply to the unit.

Mr. Ramesh said that the unit obtained licence to operate from the PPCC in February 2007, stating that it would only manufacture tablets and capsules. Water was not required in the manufacturing process, and there was no scope for effluents to be released. Later, the unit started unauthorised manufacture of tonics with alcohol content. This was brought to the notice of the PPCC by complaints from residents of the area, he said.

According to a resident of Raghavendra Nagar in Kurumbapet, “The unit started to discharge effluents into public drains, because of which water turned green. There was open discharge of effluents too, because of which even grass stopped growing in the area. We started to get frequent bouts of fever and developed skin allergy. There was a strong odour released by the effluents, because of which children used to vomit.”

Mr. Ramesh said that the unit had been collecting effluents in a sump and pumping it into roadside drains through an underground pipe.

Officials of the PPCC inspected the unit and discovered the violation.

“We then issued the unit a show cause notice. But, because the response was evasive and not satisfactory, we have now issued directions for closure under Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,” Mr. Ramesh said.

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