CPCL must pay for damage caused by oil spill, says Kamal Haasan

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Kamal Haasan during his visit to Ennore Creek on Sunday.

Kamal Haasan during his visit to Ennore Creek on Sunday.
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan on Sunday visited Ennore Creek and met fishermen in the area to see the consequences of the oil spill from Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) refinery in Manali.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Haasan demanded that CPCL pay for damages and clean-up. Strict action should be taken against it for polluting the environment, he added.

“Seven years ago, I visited the area and highlighted the environmental pollution. Today, it has become even worse. Nobody can say ‘what can we do, it is nature’. It has become worse. The oil has spread over the water,” he pointed out.

Mr. Haasan said those working to clean the oil spill were doing so without proper expertise, protective gear, and machines. “The fishermen have been tasked with cleaning the oil with bathroom buckets and no proper gear. I am ashamed. It is inhumane to make them do it. They are not technicians to clear the oil waste from water. There is no point in blaming each other. CPCL should take responsibility and pay for the clean-up,” he said. The State government must make stringent laws against those who cause environmental pollution to prevent such incidents in the future, he demanded.

“We cannot talk about departments and their roles and the responsibilities of State and Central governments to the fishermen who have lost their livelihood. We have to reassure them that their livelihood will be restored. The Tamil Nadu government will do it; damages must be paid and cleaning of the oil spill should be done by the company. There should be stringent action against CPCL,” Mr. Haasan said.

‘Government making false promises’

DMDK general secretary Premalatha Vijaykant, who also visited Ennore Creek on Sunday, asked what the Chief Minister and other Ministers were doing to prevent such environmental pollution. “They are only making false promises without doing anything for the people. Even if we stand 100 m away, we can smell the oil.”

“Whenever wind blows, the coal that is being transported to Ennore port pollutes the nearby homes. There is water, food, and air pollution in the area. The Central and State governments must take stock. The affected families should be given ₹5 lakh each as their health and livelihood have been affected,” Ms. Premalatha said.

The DMDK would protest against the State government if no solution was found in the next seven days, she added.

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