The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) evaded responsibility and blamed the dock safety officers – appointed under the Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986 – as responsible for the ammonia gas leak in Ennore. At the National Green Tribunal (NFT)’s suo-motu case hearing regarding the ammonia gas leak in Ennore, the TNPCB said that the Inspectorate of Dock Safety was responsible for enforcing regulations and directions to the Coromandel International Limited (CIL) facility, a fertiliser manufacturing company that deals with hazardous chemicals transported through pipelines in the sea bed.
The said officer has also been named as an additional respondent in the case. In an order dated January 8, TNPCB said, “We direct Respondent No. 11 (The Inspectorate, Dock Safety) to make a preliminary inspection and file a detailed report regarding the leakage of Ammonia Gas which triggered panic.”
During the hearing, the NGT concluded that the TNPCB and the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) had submitted unsatisfactory reports and asked for them to submit fresh reports before the next hearing scheduled for February 6.
Following the last hearing, when the NGT pointed out the delay in furnishing proper reports, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) founder Thol Thirumavalavan told the media, “I believe that the NGT’s case is not helping the people in finding a solution swiftly.” He also encouraged the residents to continue protesting peacefully.
Residents from 33 villages located around Ennore have been protesting with the demand for CIL to be shut permanently. Saturday, January 13, marked day 18 of the protest.