VELLORE: In the light of the tragedy that struck SIDCO on January 31 that killed 10 workers, the district administration on Friday directed the tannery and leather industries to adhere to rules and regulations with regard to the safety of the workforce. They were also warned that any violation of rules would be dealt with seriously.
Collector R Nanthagopal gave the orders on Friday during a meeting with the office bearers of CETPs and owners of leather factories at the Collectorate. He warned that the management of the Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) will also be subjected to legal actions if their member units failed to adhere to safety norms.
Recalling the tragic accident, on January 31, in which tonnes of toxic slurry swamped R K Leather factory after a massive wall of an unauthorised Secure Land Fill (SLF) collapsed, killing 10 workers in the process, the Collector said, “The management of the company failed to follow rules that resulted in the tragic accident. To prevent the repeat of such incidents, the Revenue Divisional Officers of Tirupattur, Vellore and Ranipet have been asked to inspect the CETPS and individual Effluent Treatment Plants for any violations. The inspection will be over in 10 days and stern action will be taken against violators.”
Directing the industry to end the practice of engaging workers to clean the sump or pipes carrying toxic slurry, the Collector instructed the leather industry to adopt modern technologies and do away with manual scavenging. “Industries should use the sewage jetting machine to remove slurry or effluents. Workers should also be equipped with safety gears. The management of the CETPs should also take responsibility for the safety of the workers,” he added.
Meanwhile, S Ponsingh Mohan Ram, Additional Director of the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health, suggested that industries establish a research and development agency to come up with solutions to their problems. He further said that the tanneries should clear the sludge or slurry under the supervision of the officials of Pollution Control Board and experts from CETP.
N Abdur Rahman, plant manager of VANITEC Limited, said that they have over 130 member units and they have been using machines to clear the slurry. “We have also asked our member units not to use more than 3 feet-high sumps to stock the slurry. By adopting such a system, we are hopeful that there won’t be any untoward incident in our industries or member units,” he said.
Other members of the tanneries also assured that they would follow all the safety norms to prevent any unwanted incidents.
Officials from TNPCB and revenue departments too took part in the meeting.