Close down Coffee Making Plant Till It Complies With Environmental Standards

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the CCL Products (India) Ltd, located in Duggirala mandal of Guntur district, be immediately closed till such time the industry fully complies with environmental standards. The CCLP (India) Ltd industry manufactures a diverse assortment of instant and soluble coffee.

A fact-finding team of the HRF visited several villages in Tenali and Duggirala mandal to look into widespread concerns of residents in the area about pollution from the CCLP (India) Ltd. We were shocked to see for ourselves the utter brazenness with which the industry is flouting environmental protection norms.

We found that the CCLP (India) Ltd is discharging waste effluents into the DRBC drain through a pipeline on the outskirts of Kolakaluru village. This illegal discharge, which is going on since several years on a regular basis is in open violation of statutory norms. Available data clearly shows high values of BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) in the effluents which is much above the permitted value. CCLP (India) Ltd is violating the condition prohibiting discharge of either raw or treated effluents into surface water or groundwater recharge.

These discharges have contaminated surface and groundwater resources in the area to the detriment of people’s health. The borewells in the region are coughing up coloured water and farmers we spoke to complained of various ailments including skin rashes and joint pains. According to them, during the rainy season the industry is also discharging effluents into agricultural canals resulting in diminishing yields. The industry is also dumping sludge adjacent to the Tenali-Mangalagiri road in open violation of norms. All these illegalities by the CCLP (India) Ltd have resulted in a serious health hazard to people of several villages. These include Manchikalapudi, Penumuli, Ramanagaram Colony, Kolakaluru, Kopalle, Gudivada, Sangam Jagarlamudi, Anantaram and Sekuru. These villages are located in Duggirala and Tenali mandals.

The AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) has pointed out these violations by CCLP (India) Ltd time and again over the years, but the industry has been regularly violating the conditions of permission to operate. It is in open contempt of environmental standards, various consent conditions as well as a Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) notification dated 6-8-2008. The MOEF, Govt of India notification No. GSR 579 (E), dated 6-8-2008 for the coffee industry stipulates: “Raw, treated and/or diluted effluent shall not be discharged into surface water body or used for recharging groundwater under any circumstances whatsoever.”

On its part, the APPCB, instead of ensuring that CCLP (India) Ltd adheres to norms by strictly enforcing provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, has failed to discharge its statutory responsibility. Despite repeated violations by the industry, the PCB has been extremely considerate towards it letting it off with some minor penalties.

The HRF therefore demands closure of the unit till the facilities meant for treating effluents to desirable standards are established and the CCLP (India) Ltd fully adheres to environmental norms. Criminal proceedings must be initiated against all those responsible for causing health hazards to people in the area. Farmers in the area must be comprehensively compensated for the losses they have suffered as a result of the CCLP (India) Ltd effluents.

VS Krishna 
(HRF General Secretary, AP and TS)

GS Nageswararao
(HRF Convener, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam Districts Joint Committee)


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