Environment
A petition filed in the Madras HC alleges that a majority of the brick kilns operating in five Coimbatore villages are illegal and pose major health risks to people living in these areas.
File Photo

Following several complaints about the alleged illegal brick kilns in Thadagam and its surrounding areas, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has started carrying out inspections in the region.

Officials from TNPCB Chennai and Coimbatore arrived at Veerapandi, one of the five villages in the foothills of Western Ghats in Coimbatore district with a thick concentration of brick kilns on Wednesday and checked the levels of noise and air pollution in the region. TNPCB also placed nine instruments to measure and record the levels of pollution in air and noise in the area.

According to reports, the inspection is expected to continue for a few days and the instruments will record pollution levels every day.

The inspection was reportedly prompted by continuous complaints from local activists that a majority of the brick kilns in the region are illegal and that they violate the environmental norms. Activists have also said that the brick chambers operate without the necessary clearances and poses a serious health hazard for people living in those regions.

Recently, a petition filed in the Madras High Court seeking action against the brick kilns allegedly operating illegally in the five villages — Chinna Thadagam, Somayampalayam, Veerapandi, Nanjundapuram and Pannimadai —  in the foothills of Western Ghats. The petition also sought a court-ordered assessment into the damages caused by these brick kilns to the ecology and health of the people living in these villages over the years by an independent expert committee.

Alleging that there were at least 200 brick kilns in the region which operate without necessary clearances that are extracting brick sand between 3 feet and 100 feet deep from ground level, the petition also claimed that they were operating without proper permissions, which authorities like the TNPCB and TANGEDCO knew. The petitioner has accused the owners of the brick kiln and a DMK politician of issuing death threats to him if he did not withdraw his petition. The court had posted the hearing of the case for October 17.

Read: Illegal brick kilns in Coimbatore degrading landscape and damaging ecology?