Even as clean-up efforts following the Chennai oil spill have almost come to an end, authorities have allegedly buried sludge that was removed, in pits close to the sea, near fishing hamlets in Kasimedu.
Writing for The New Indian Express, C Shivakumar reported that at least seven pits were found close to the sea, while adding that the location was just two km from Bharathi Nagar, the area that was worst affected.
It also quotes fishermen saying that high tides would result in the oil going back into the sea again.
However, officials have denied all allegations.
"We have not carried out any work since some local goons (referring to fishermen) stopped us from carrying out the work on Friday... We have to clean the rocks by using hot water and high jet pressure cleaner. But the entire operation has been put on hold," an official of Viraj Clean Sea Enterprises, which has undertaken the clean-up operation told TNIE.
Last week, The News Minute reported that port authorities and the Indian Coast Guard couldnâ€™t agree on how much of the clean-up operations were completed and what remained to be done.
While a top official of the Kamarajar Port told TNM that the sludge from the spill had been entirely cleared from the water, an officer of the Indian Coast Guard said that the cleanup process had to continue further.
"A total of 300 tonnes of sludge â€“ a combination of oil, sand and water â€“ has been collected and shifted to the bio-remediation pit. All the oil in the sea has been removed. Only the oil on the rocks is there," the port official claimed.
The oil spill at Ennore, on the outskirts of Chennai, resulted from a collision on January 28 of two merchant ships carrying LPG and crude oil.
While port authorities had initially denied reports of an oil spill, it was later found that an unknown quantity of oil had spilled into the ocean.
The spill spread to a distance of around 35km before authorities stepped in and began reversing it.