Revenue officials inspect 'odour causing' fishing units at Pottaloorani

A Right to Information (RTI) also revealed high levels of chemicals in the groundwater.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

THOOTHUKUDI: Two months after villagers of Pottaloorani boycotted the Lok Sabha election, alleging that no action was taken against fish processing units emanating foul odour, revenue officials inspected the units on Wednesday.

Residents of Pottaloorani, located in Ellainayakanpatti panchayat near Thoothukudi, skipped voting on April 19, condemning the district administration’s inaction against the units and continued their protest.

The officials, headed by Thoothukudi RDO, visited the three fish processing units — two at Vadakku Karaseri panchayat and one at Chettimallanpatti of Ellainayakanpatti panchayat. They also inspected the tank and collected the samples.

The major contention of the villagers is that the stench emanating from the three units affects the life of the people in Pottaloorani, residing southeast of the units in Vadakku Karaseri.

People also alleged that the groundwater, air and land had been spoiled, and farmers were refusing to go out into the fields due to the stench. “Cattle rearing has become difficult as the cattle die after consuming water from the pond while grazing. The tankers loaded with waste effluents are discharged into the Perumal Nayakar Oorani," they said.

"We are unable to sleep as the foul gases are released late at night for two hours from 11.30 pm. Breathing troubles intensify during mist, and the intensity of the stench goes up during summer and windy seasons," they said.

The villagers alleged that they were threatened by the goons to stifle the agitation and demand to shut the companies.

A Right to Information (RTI) also revealed high levels of chemicals in the groundwater.

According to the RTI reply, the three companies — NPM Associates, Marksmen Aquatic Products LLP and Jenefa India — located in Chettimallanpatti and Vadakku Karaseri respectively, produce fish meal and fish oil using the bycatch. While NPM Associates produces 200 tonnes of fish meal and 40 tonnes of fish oil per day, Marksmen Aquatic Products LLP produces 50 tonnes of fish meal and 20 tonnes of oil in a day. Jenefa India manufactures 63 tonnes of fish meal and 13 tonnes of fish oil in a day. The fish meal is used by the poultry industry.

As per a report based on the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board’s (TNPCB) field survey at Chettimallanpatti village in December 2023, officials found that the stench was a result of exhaust air from the processes and water purification, from the evaporator. The TNPCB’s report stated that the objectionable odour arising from the aeration tank can be controlled, and the dispersion of PM10 could be reduced with proper roads inside the premises.

The pollutant levels in Chettimallanpatti are also on the higher end.
Another report related to sample testing of trade effluents and groundwater revealed that most of the parameters of trade effluent are under permissible levels, while some parameters of groundwater samples have exceeded the standards of the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD).

Kjeldahl nitrogen and TDS levels in groundwater were also found to be beyond the permissible limits. 

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