The Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), a 51 per cent subsidiary of Unilever, has been asked to pay a fine of Rs 50 crore for polluting Kodaikanal. The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Waste (SCMC) recently directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to impose the fine. HLL's mercury thermometer manufacturing factory in Kodaikanal has already been closed.
The decision was take after SCMC's visit to the tourist town, during which it found that the factory's mercury vapour and effluent had made their way to Pambar Shola, a forest sanctuary, and the Kodi Lake. HLL has also been directed to establish a health clinic for the people affected by mercury poisoning. In addition, it has to set up a new, non-polluting enterprise, preferably based on locally available resources, especially for the employees of the thermometer factory who have been rendered jobless. A Local Area Environment Committee also has to be constituted to facilitate and monitor the implementation of the committee's directions, according to D B Boralkar, SCMCmember.
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