Following the release of Chennai-based rapper Sofia Ashraf video, Unilever responded to the concerns regarding its ex-employees affected in its Kodaikanal mercury factory.
“Safety is our number one priority. Extensive studies found no harm to workers or environment in Kodaikanal,” the company said in its official twitter handle. However, they stated that they are willing to resolve the issues with the workers and demanded that “all parties around the table to agree on an outcome.”
They even cited “expert studies” in their press release regarding the toxic contamination around the factory.
Nevertheless, Nityanand Jayaraman, a member of the Chennai Solidarity Group for the Ponds Hindustan Lever Ex-workers Welfare Association slammed their studies as “Dubious Science to Protect its Health.”
He debugs the studies citing that Unilever fails to mention the findings of a Government of India report that was submitted to the Madras High Court. According to the claims of that report, the medical examination of the workers conducted during the field visit on 4-6th October 2011 by the committee by medical personnel has revealed typical symptoms of mercury poisoning as evidenced by the witnesseses presented during investigation.
Mr Jayaraman says that the workers are open to hear their offer. however, the ballpark figure estimated as a "honourable compensation" by the workers is around Rs 1000 crores. " If they were to offer it tomorrow, the matter would be settled," he said.
“We’ve taken action to clean up soil on factory premises – now waiting final consent from local authority before completing,” Unilever said in regards to the contaminated soil allegations.
It’s been four days since the Nicki Minaj-inspired rap song ‘Kodaikanal Won’t’ was launched by activists and victims of mercury poisoning in the famed hill resort and it has already reached over 1.5 million views on YouTube.