Hetero Drugs Brazen Illegalities: Action Sought

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that authorities concerned take immediate action against the Hetero Drugs Ltd pharmaceutical industry near Rajayyapeta village in Nakkapalli mandal of Visakhapatnam district for committing illegalities. The company recently laid a three feet diameter pipeline without any requisite clearances. The pipeline is intended to carry effluents from the plant to be dumped in the sea.

Hetero Drugs laid the pipeline surreptitiously for a distance of about 4 km before local fisher-folk noticed it 12 days ago and staged a protest which led to stopping of the work. The Narsipatnam RDO, who visited the area subsequently, has reportedly said the pipeline laying is improper and that no clearance was obtained for the same. However, no action has been initiated against Hetero Drugs for this criminality. Officials are behaving as if it were some minor impropriety!

It is common knowledge in the area that the toxins being let out by the company has had a deleterious effect on human health and marine ecosystems. Apart from being dumped into the sea, the bio-accumulative and toxic wastes generated by the plant have found their way into the surface and groundwater sources. Over the years, these toxic pharmaceutical chemicals have taken a toll on human health, animal life and vegetation in the area. This is the reason why local fisher-folk do not want more pipelines to carry and dump poison into the environment. Their apprehension is completely legitimate.

Local people the HRF team spoke with on Saturday pointed out the serious health effects they are having to live with ever since the company began production. They said dizziness, difficulty in breathing, rapid heart rate, anemia, headaches and tremors were common as well as ailments of the blood, liver and kidneys. All this is apart from the unbearable stench that envelops the area from the plant’s emissions.

Residents of Rajayyapeta, Boyipadu, Dondavaka and Pedateenarla, among others, are totally unconvinced at Hetero’s periodic assertions that the effluents generated by it are treated before being discharged into the sea. The brackish water body in the area, known as Upputeru, has become thoroughly contaminated with high concentrations of dangerous pollutants from Hetero Drugs.

The livelihood of the fisher-folk community that depends largely on coastal resources is being adversely affected. There is a clear dwindling of fish stock in the sea. Fishers complained to us that the waste discharged by the company has resulted in fish simply dying and floating ashore. The Bay of Bengal has literally been converted into a dumping yard for hazardous effluents.

What are regulatory bodies doing in the face of these brazen illegalities by Hetero Drugs? Evidently, the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) is complicit with Hetero which is why the company is able to mock at environmental laws and operate with total impunity.

VS Krishna 
(HRF TS & AP Coordination
Committee member)

Jaha Aara
(HRF Vizag district executive
committee member)


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