Residents of these two areas have been complaining of a pungent odour and a suspected gas leakage leading to breathlessness and irritation on the skin. Children had complained of eye sores and irritation and have been taken to the doctors
Manali area is a petrochemical cluster with several industries and social activists and environmentalists have been regularly reminding the pollution control board and the Government of Tamil Nadu of the acute pollution from this industrial cluster.
The five-member technical committee constituted by the Tamil Nadu government has two scientists from ISRO, Sivathanu Pillai and Gokul, IIT Madras Professor, S.M. Sivanagendra, Prof N. Balasubramanian from Alagappa College of Technology, Anna University and Regional director of Central Pollution Control board, H. D. Varalaxmi.
Additional Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu, Supriya Sahu in a Government order said: “In order to safeguard the health of the people, it is essential to get a detailed technical examination done immediately. The committee will inspect the area and submit a detailed report to the government by July 23.”
Notably, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) officials have done several field visits and checks to find out the source of the odour. A notice has been issued to Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) regarding the pungent smell and odour that was causing irritation to the people of the area. The TNPCB had asked the CPCL whether the Sulphur content was high in the crude oil imported by the company to which the CPCL had replied that it was a normal one.
With more than fifteen days being over since the pungent odour and suspected gas leakage commenced, the Government of Tamil Nadu constituted a committee.
Officials with the Tamil Nadu government told IANS that the five-member team is meeting people and studying the air quality for the past few days and that the air quality index before the pungent odour complaint had risen. The pollution data of all the clusters of Manali is also being studied to reach a conclusion.
The team will also be conducting inspections at the Petrochemical clusters in Manali and will visit the CPCL to ascertain the reason behind the pungent odour and suspected gas leakage.