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Ammonia gas leak: Fertiliser company agrees to pay Rs 5.92 cr compensation, says Tamil Nadu Minister

The ammonia gas leak occurred on December 26, 2023 at 11.45 pm from a sub-sea 2.5 km long pipeline of the factory after boulders damaged it.
Last Updated 21 February 2024, 12:46 IST

Chennai: A fertiliser manufacturing company has agreed to pay a compensation of Rs 5.92 crore towards environmental mitigation after ammonia gas leaked from its sub-sea pipeline at Ennore creek near here in December 2023, state Environment and Climate Change Minister Siva V Meyyanathan said on Wednesday.

The government will also consider the next course of action against the factory of the company, Coromandel International Ltd (CIL), after it implements all safety mechanisms recommended by the technical committee and the ratification is done by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), he told the Assembly.

The Minister was replying to a special calling attention motion on the gas leak issue moved by several parties seeking the 'permanent' closure of the factory.

He informed the Assembly that after a seven-member technical committee submitted a report, the TNPCB served a notice to CIL asking for a compensation of Rs 5,92,50,888 towards environmental mitigation.

"The notice was served under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, on February 2. The firm agreed to pay the sum," Meyyanathan said.

The ammonia gas leak occurred on December 26, 2023 at 11.45 pm from a sub-sea 2.5 km long pipeline of the factory after boulders damaged it. This was an impact of Cyclone Michaung that ravaged Chennai and its suburbs in early December 2023, the report said.

The residents of two adjoining villages, Periyakuppam and Chinnakuppam, experienced suffocation, eye irritation, and nausea, as the ammonia level in the air was five times higher than the safe limit, officials said.

"Over 50 persons were hospitalised as a result. The leak was plugged within 20 minutes of the mishap," the Minister claimed.

Following the incident, the TNPCB officials visited the factory on December 27, 2023, and undertook a thorough probe. The company was ordered shut immediately, and following instruction from Chief Minister M K Stalin, the seven-member technical committee was constituted.

The panel ascertained that the cause of the ammonia gas leak was from the pipelines of CIL close to the shore.

Further, the technical committee had suggested laying a new pipeline with an automatic tripping system, automatic interlocking system, and safety audit, the Minister said.

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(Published 21 February 2024, 12:46 IST)

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