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Date: 2-02-2012

To

Smt. Sheela Kumari,

The Panchayat President, Mayyanad Gramapanchayat

Subject: Appeal to Cancel the Grant of License for Plastic Manufacturing Unit (aka Water Bottling plant in disguise)

Dear Mam

It has come to our notice that Mayyanad Gramapanchayat has given License to start a Plastic Caps and Jar Manufacturing plant last month (while it still remains a water bottling plant in disguise as per the earlier application, intention and construction) due to various considerations without understanding the gravity of the decision taken and its impact on the entire Umayanallor Yela ecosystem and how it contributes to Mayyanadians at large, thereby Kollam District in true sense.

Umayanallor Yela is one of the largest wetland (apart from being paddy field) in Mayyanad Gramapanchayat and Wetlands in their natural state bring substantial benefits to the society. A significant section of Mayyanad Panchayat starting from Thattamala, Kootikkada, Peedikamukku, Umayanallor, Pullichira, Alumoodu , Konnemukku, Mevaram, Kandachira & Mayyanad households get their well water (more than 4000 wells ) recharged from the Umayanallor Yela Paddy Field. The conversion of wetlands involves not only irreversibility in the environmental or ecological processes but also uncertainty. Availability of good quality freshwater is going to be one of the most important resource limitations of the Mayyanad Gramapanchayat and already this is seen in Kottiayam, Pullichira, Kandachira and Alumoodu during the summer months. Janasakthi is already in the process of studying this water scarcity. Large scale degradation of land consequent to urbanization, and aquatic pollution due to waste dumping has currently resulted in the scarcity of drinking water. The problem will be more acute in the near future, if proper and timely precautionary steps are not taken. Bulk density and water holding capacity of soil are more in paddy fields and less in bare lands. The major functions of wetlands and paddy fields are maintenance of fertility, productivity, recharge of ground water, and purification.

This grant of license is in direct violation of the “THE KERALA CONSERVATION OF PADDY LAND AND WETLAND ACT, 2008” which is to conserve the paddy land and wetland and to restrict the conversion or reclamation thereof, in order to promote growth in the agricultural sector and to sustain the ecological system, in the State of Kerala. Given the fact that the current industrial facility is built upon paddy fields as per revenue records as of today and this while we have an industrial corridor in Umayanallor Industrial Estate for such type of industries, the intention of locating this industrial unit in Umayanallor Padasekharam is pretty obvious. Your decision to sanction license to this unit in an 1000 parakandam paddy field (Umayanallor Padasekharam) has the below impacts.

  1. Availability of good quality freshwater in Mayyanad Gramapanchayat
  2. Food Security of the Mayyanad Gramapanchayat and thereby the nation
  3. Leads to Stoppage of Paddy Cultivation in Umayanallor Padasekharam
  4. People are exposed to chemicals from plastic multiple times per day through the air, dust, water and food.
  5. Plastics are durable and degrade very slowly; the chemical bonds that make plastic so durable make it equally resistant to natural processes of degradation virtually killing the paddy fields.
  6. Adverse Impact on Cattles and Cattle rearing families of Umayanallor Yela (Courtesy of  Scientific American and Environmental Health News,  According to an article by Matthew Cimitile, researchers believe that airborne pollution from plastics manufacturing may change the DNA of cattle.)
  7. Chemicals added to plastics are absorbed by human bodies. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
  8. Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison aquatic life in the paddy fields.
  9. Floating plastic waste, which can survive for thousands of years in water, serves as mini transportation devices for invasive species, disrupting habitats down in Karikuzhi Yela and down south into the Thanni Lake.
  10. Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater thereby poisoning well water.
  11. Tremendous amount of noise pollution due to the installation of multiple 25HP machines in the unit.
  12. Depletion of ground water table and water scarcity all across the panchayat.
  13. PET bottles are made from a different kind of plastic which is not recyclable

We hereby also earnestly request that Janasakthi be provided a copy of the below at the earliest so as to study the same.

  • Project Report of the Unit
  • Environmental Impact Study Report
  • Report of the Agricultural Officer
  • Health Impact Report on Humans
  • Health Impact Report on Cattles
  • Noise Pollution Report
  • Waste Disposal & Processing Facilities recommended and installed at the site
  • Socio Economic benefit analysis of the Project

If an RTI need to be filed for the same please intimate so immediately and we will file it at the earliest for obtaining the copy of the report. Looking forward to this license be cancelled permanently without any ambiguity under your leadership and if required take over the building and compensate the entrepreneur for any mistakes of the Panchayat in allowing him to proceed with the works.  Looking forward to your reply and appreciate your leadership and decision making skills on this utmost important ecological issue and hand.

We believe this decision is paramount to a society’s existence into which your good self also belongs too. Being an NGO involved in Environmental research we believe that this license is detrimental to Mayyanad’s future.  Looking forward to your whole hearted support in Janasakthis endeavors in the Panchayat.

Sincerely,

Secretary Janasakthi

 

 

Cc: Panchayat Secretary                                    

Cc: Agricultural Officer

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RDO petitioned on the  7th

Date: 7-02-2012

To

The RDO, Kollam

Subject: Cancellation of the Grant of License for Plastic Manufacturing Unit (aka Water Bottling plant in disguise)

Dear Sir

It has come to our notice that Mayyanad Gramapanchayat has given License to start a Plastic Caps and Jar Manufacturing plant last month (while it still remains a water bottling plant in disguise as per the earlier application, intention and construction) due to various considerations without understanding the gravity of the decision taken and its impact on the entire Umayanallor Ela ecosystem and how it contributes to Mayyanadians at large, thereby Kollam District in true sense.Umayanallor Ela is one of the largest wetland (apart from being paddy field) in Mayyanad Gramapanchayat and Wetlands in their natural state bring substantial benefits to the society. A significant section of Mayyanad Panchayat starting from Thattamala, Kootikkada, Peedikamukku, Umayanallor, Pullichira, Alumoodu , Konnemukku, Mevaram, Kandachira & Mayyanad households get their well water (more than 5000 wells ) recharged from the Umayanallor Ela Paddy Field. The conversion of wetlands involves not only irreversibility in the environmental or ecological processes but also uncertainty. Availability of good quality freshwater is going to be one of the most important resource limitations of the Mayyanad Gramapanchayat and already this is seen in Kottiayam, Pullichira, Kandachira and Alumoodu during the summer months. Janasakthi is already in the process of studying this water scarcity. Large scale degradation of land consequent to urbanization, and aquatic pollution due to waste dumping has currently resulted in the scarcity of drinking water. The problem will be more acute in the near future, if proper and timely precautionary steps are not taken. Bulk density and water holding capacity of soil are more in paddy fields and less in bare lands. The major functions of wetlands and paddy fields are maintenance of fertility, productivity, recharge of ground water, and purification. We also want to stress the point that government exchequer has to spend lakhs of rupees for drinking water supply during summer months.

This grant of license is in direct violation of the “THE KERALA CONSERVATION OF PADDY LAND AND WETLAND ACT, 2008” which is to conserve the paddy land and wetland and to restrict the conversion or reclamation thereof, in order to promote growth in the agricultural sector and to sustain the ecological system, in the State of Kerala. Given the fact that the current industrial facility is built upon paddy fields as per revenue records as of today and this while we have an industrial corridor in Umayanallor Industrial Estate for such type of industries, the intention of locating this industrial unit in Umayanallor Padasekharam is pretty obvious. The decision to sanction license to this unit in an 1000 parakandam paddy field (Umayanallor Padasekharam) has the below impacts.

  1. Availability of good quality freshwater in Mayyanad Gramapanchayat
  2. Food Security of the Mayyanad Gramapanchayat and thereby the nation
  3. Leads to Stoppage of Paddy Cultivation in Umayanallor Padasekharam
  4. People are exposed to chemicals from plastic multiple times per day through the air, dust, water and food.
  5. Plastics are durable and degrade very slowly; the chemical bonds that make plastic so durable make it equally resistant to natural processes of degradation virtually killing the paddy fields.
  6. Adverse Impact on Cattles and Cattle rearing families of Umayanallor Ela (Courtesy of  Scientific American and Environmental Health News,  According to an article by Matthew Cimitile, researchers believe that airborne pollution from plastics manufacturing may change the DNA of cattle.)
  7. Chemicals added to plastics are absorbed by human bodies. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects including fertility in both humans and animals
  8. Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison aquatic life in the paddy fields.
  9. Floating plastic waste, which can survive for thousands of years in water, serves as mini transportation devices for invasive species, disrupting habitats down in Karikuzhi Ela and down south into the Thanni Lake.
  10. Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater thereby poisoning well water.
  11. Tremendous amount of noise pollution due to the installation of multiple 25HP machines in the unit.
  12. Depletion of ground water table and water scarcity all across the Panchayat.
  13. PET bottles are made from a different kind of plastic which is not recyclable

We are given to reliably undertand that the below inevitable reports all of which have not been obtained and considered while the Panchayat council sanctioned the said license for the unit under undue vested influence to which some panchayat members are beneficiaries. This we believe is against the oath taken during swearing in.

  • Project Report of the Unit
  • Environmental Impact Study Report
  • Report of the Agricultural Officer
  • Health Impact Report on Humans
  • Health Impact Report on Cattles
  • Noise Pollution Report
  • Waste Disposal & Processing Facilities recommended and installed at the site
  • Socio Cost benefit analysis of the Project
  • Report from the District Industries Centre, Kollam

Looking forward to swift action towards this license being cancelled permanently under “THE KERALA CONSERVATION OF PADDY LAND AND WETLAND ACT, 2008” without any ambiguity under your leadership.  Looking forward to your reply and appreciate your leadership towards revoking this  license so as to permanently  prevent the  this  ecological disaster of the district from happening.

 

Yours truly,

 

Janasakthi

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Collector was petitioned on the 7th.

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Deputy Director of Panchayat was petitioned against the corruption and malpractice performed by the Panchayat Secretary in March.                                                     ———————————————————————————————————————————

Reminder Letter Given to the President again showcasing the violations committed by the secretary L.Thomas  towards sanctioning the Plant dated 22-3-12.

To

Smt. Sheela Kumari, Executive President, Mayyanad Gramapanchayat

Subject: Renewal of License for Plastic Manufacturing Unit (aka Water Bottling plant in disguise) for B.Vasanthakumar, Vrindawan Pets.

Dear Mam

We have submitted to your good self two mass petitions  on the18/7/11 & 20-12/11, for Cancelling the Grant of License for Plastic Manufacturing Unit (aka Water Bottling plant in disguise). This was signed by our ward member Hemalatha too for your kind attention. It has been more than three month and a half, and still a reply is not forthcoming from your part. But the Panchayat Secretary went ahead and issued the license violating all said norms. This inordinate delay from your office, is not as per the conditions of the manual of office procedure of Government of Kerala and we believe this delay is deliberate violation given the conditions under which the license was issued by Secretary L.Thomas violating all norms in the process.

Given the fact that the license is due for renewal on 31st march 2012, the residents of the area  where the factory is located request that the license be not renewed at all. And if at all its to be deliberated then we want to be part of the deliberations as well as make sure that the all the below irregularities & violations committed by your Secretary L.Thomas is addressed and no fake NOC is entertained in the name of residents nearby.

As per the statement of facts given to the High Court Kerala and information obtained from all the concerned authorities we are pointing to the deliberate breaches committed by L. Thomas, Panchayat Secretary in your Panchayat.

1)      Secretary L.Thomas deliberately included Jars in the license when PCB had only sanctioned Bottles & Caps. PCB has not given permission for Jar manufacturing. ( RTI from PCB)

2)      Per rules for all units above 5HP, different norms apply, Secretary L.Thomas has not followed it and given permission on his own for reasons known only to him for 25.5 HP. (As per information from LSG Tribunal Court Trivandrum case against Secretary L.Thomas).

3)      When issuing the license Secretary L.Thomas has not followed the guidelines as mentioned in Panchayati Raj Act 232,233,234 & 254, whereas its using these rules the license has been issues(License submitted in High Court)

4)      PCB has clearly stated that there is bound to be air pollution as well as noise pollution. PCB has stated that studies should be conducted for ascertaining the health hazards.Secretary L.Thomas has ignored this deliberately.(RTI from PCB).

5)      Secretary L.Thomas has given license based on a DMO report with Signature on both papers of the DMOs order are by different people and its not sealed from the DMOs office. Its strange an order is not sealed, let alone the signature. Below are the issues with respect to the DMO license as we believe its fabricated and not as per the format decided by the govt. Secretary L. Thomas has decided to over look this and below are the discrepancies in the DMO license.

  • DMO has preferred to comment on items beyond the purview of the official mandate of the request from the Panchayat Secretary. DMO has commented on Mechanical, Civil & Technical specs.
  • DMO has not provided or not called for any specific aspects of pollution that might interfere with health.
  • Nature, Quantity & Quality of the water and its impact on human and animal health has not been studied particularly in view of giving clearance to an upcoming factory. Item 5 in the DMO report is very vague and gives full loopholes.
  • Instead of protecting drinking water, item no 6 in the DMOs report says it should be provided. Protecting drinking water should be mandatory in every area of pollution, and not touching on the peripherals of pollution.
  • Item 7 in the DMO report says, DMO has to give permission for new machinery. This gives a perception that new machine installation permission comes from DMO. ( Here we pray to provide an exhibit  of the machinery)
  • Item 9 in the DMO list is ambiguous, not sure what is the intention.
  • Signature on both papers of the DMOs order are by different people and its not sealed from the DMOs office. Its strange an order is not sealed, let alone the signature.
  • With respect to Item 11, not sure what is the sanctity of concrete with the DMO.
  • Item 2 in the list, not sure what is suspect for protection.

6)      Secretary L.Thomas has not made sure Existing benchmark data on the ambient air quality, groundwater status and quality needs to be obtained at the cost of the owner, whereas PCB has called for such studies.(RTI information from PCB)

7)      Secretary L.Thomas has not made sure Physical, Chemical & Biological Prameters of Soil should also be provided at the cost of the owner to set the benchmark before issuing the license when PCB has called for such studies.

  • Chemical: Ph, Electrical Conductivity, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity), Base Saturation of Soil.
  • Physical: Bulk density of Soil
  • Biological: Bacterial, Fungal, Actinomycetes count.

8)       Secretary L.Thomas has not made sure that Report on Water Analysis should be obtained for benchmarking dissolved salts and other metals in the ground water.

9)      Secretary L.Thomas has decided to ignore the fact that the unit stands on Wetland (survey numbers 93/6-1 & 93/7-1 ) and Conversion of Wetland for other purposes reduces the recharge area.

10)  Secretaty L.Thomas has deliberately ignored the fact that being a wetland pollution gets directly in the groundwater and its irreversible.

11)  Secretary L.Thoams has deliberately overlooked the part which calls for facility to dispose wastes as called for in the DMO report and Irrational disposal of plastic will cause animal death.

12)  Secretary L.Thomas has deliberately ignored the fact that Gradual but continued exposure of pollutants in ground water is irreversible.

13)   Secretary L.Thomas has decided to overrule the ward member L.Hemalathas objection and hence the Ward member has signed in the mass petition and is on record that she is against it. Hemalathas objection has not been considered by the Secretary.

14)   Secretary L.Thomas has overlooked the fact that this proposal was not kept in Gramasabha for approval.

15)   Secretary L.Thomas has decided to overlook the fact that there is no project report yet submitted. (RTI reply from Secretary L.Thomas)

16)   Secretary L.Thomas has deicded to overlook the fact, NOC was not obtained from any of the nearby residents. Instead it was obtained form a person who stays at Thazhuttala village, which is 8KM far of from Mayyanad.

17)   Bottle and Cap licence from PCB became Bottle, Cap & Jar at Panchayat. ( Statememnt facts at HighCourt.)

18)   Secretary L.Thomas has given the license on 15/12/11 and its attempted start was 20/12/11, which means it was readied without permission, and secretary was in the knowhow of this and is considered to have actively colluded with B.Vasanthakumar, Vrindavan Pets.

19)   Secretary L.Thomas has stated in the RTI reply that no water is required for the industry when a Well was dug up with a diameter of approximately 3 m and depth of 30 feet for bottling plant. Second well construction was stopped by the villagers. Secretary has performed dereliction of duty.

20)   Secretary L.Thomas has deliberately lied in his RTI reply that there is no water bottling plant in Mayyanad Panchayat, when the same person B.Vasanthakumar is running it in Mayyanad Panchayat as Vrindavanam Industries, Ammachanmukku, Mayyanad. It’s a fact that people agitated against this plant. This was deliberately hiddedn and lied to by the Secretary in his RTI reply.

If still a reply is not forthcoming and you decide to renew the license we will be forced to go to the appropriate authorities against your Dereliction of duty since Gramapanchayat President is Executive President. This we believe is also a breach of oath taken by your goodself when assuming office. Such a corrupt license issual system should not be entertained and action has to be taken against all tainted officials especially L.Thomas . Once more we request you to uphold the dignity of the Panchayat Presidents office and request that this license be not renewed anymore given the irregularities commited by your subordinates under your office.

Apart from taking the matter up with higher authorities we will be forced to move the high court implicating your office if the necessary remedial measures are not taken.

Sincerely,

 

 

Cc: Panchayat Secretary

 

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License expired on 31/03/12, President was petitioned by 60 members not to renew it including the Ward Member Hemalatha, basically asking to hear the citizens.

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Factory started operating on 2nd April, after expiry of License, Panchayat was notified on the 6th about the factory operating after license expiry. Strange they choose to keep mum. This looks to a breach of office code and conduct by the Secretary and Panchayat.

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