Action likely against fertiliser firm over ammonia gas leakage in Tamil Nadu’s Ennore | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Action likely against fertiliser firm over ammonia gas leakage in Tamil Nadu’s Ennore

By, Chennai
Feb 05, 2024 08:48 AM IST

Fertiliser firm Coromandel International could face legal action and pay an environmental compensation of ₹5.92 crore for the December 26 ammonia gas leak in Ennore

Fertiliser firm Coromandel International could face legal action and pay an environmental compensation of 5.92 crore for the December 26 ammonia gas leak in Ennore, a suburb of Chennai, as the state government on Sunday ordered the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to implement recommendations of a technical committee investigating the industrial accident.

A subsea pipeline of a plant of Coromandel International Ltd, a fertilizer manufacturing company, where an incident of ammonia gas leakage occured, at Ennore in Chennai district on December 27. (PTI)
A subsea pipeline of a plant of Coromandel International Ltd, a fertilizer manufacturing company, where an incident of ammonia gas leakage occured, at Ennore in Chennai district on December 27. (PTI)

The incident left several hospitalised, killed hundreds of fish and impacted marine and residents’ life. The technical committee, which included experts from Indian Institute of Technology Madras and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, found that the leak had occurred from the undersea pipeline of Coromandel International close to the shore. It recommended in a report that Coromandel International should pay a compensation of 5.92 crore to the state pollution watchdog.

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The board should also initiate “legal action against the unit for the non-compliance with the conditions of the consent order issued under the Air Act,” the environment department said in a statement.

The factory should replace the existing offshore pipeline by a new one with a state-of-the-art monitoring, automatic control and accident prevention system, one of the 18 recommendations of the committee said. The pipeline was not properly protected at the location where it emerged out of the sea and crosses a road to reach the factory, the panel said. It should be secured to avoid any accidental damage, it said.

The villages surrounding the factory protested for several days after the accident, demanding the factory be permanently closed. The committee recommended that the factory should keep local residents informed of the precooling and ammonia transfer operations.

Late on December 26, ammonia gas leaked from a pipeline that runs from the sea to the factory. The level of ammonia in the air was 2,090 microgram, as opposed to the accepted level of 400 microgram. In the sea, it was 49 milligrams per litre (mg/l) against the standard of 5 mg/l, the pollution board found.

The National Green Tribunal took up the case on its own and is hearing the matter.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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