Red oxide menace: Relief for wasteland' folk

KMML may take over land it polluted

KOLLAM: The final round of talks with the Chavara Kerala Minerals and Metals to take over the land that it polluted with red oxide effluent in Chittoor village here is underway, marking the end of a two-decade-long resistance. In the first phase, Kinfra will acquire 160 acres for the company. But residents are sceptical about the compensation package. Nearly 250 acres spreading across Chittoor, Panmana, Ponmana and Mekkad wards remain unsuitable to live, leaving 1,500 families to fight for rehabilitation for the last two decades.

“We are concerned about the compensation," Rameshan Pillai, a resident, told DC. "The authorities have not agreed to our demand to get rehabilitated. They instead tell us to relocate with the money they offer voluntarily. We also doubt whether the amount would be sufficient to purchase land and build a house if we manage to find a suitable place.” The authorities will hold a high-level meeting on the acquisition process on Saturday at the KMML guesthouse. Nearly 750 families are residing in the proposed land. They say political stand of governments had put them on the warpath all these years.

The people who are also affected by high water scarcity rely on ration supply of water the company provides for 45 minutes each two times a day. The land, air, and water contain red pigments of titanium dioxide leaking out of the sewage system. The residents suffer from lung diseases, and it has damaged the soil fertility. The residents who demand the KMML to take over the entire polluted area had also taken up the issue with the National Green Tribunal and the Human Rights Commission.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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