Published On:February 22 2024
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Tamil Nadu Government to Address Coromandel International Fertiliser Unit Following Compliance with Recommendations

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Siva V Meyyanathan, has announced that the Tamil Nadu government will determine its next steps regarding the Coromandel International fertiliser unit in North Chennai only after ensuring full compliance with the recommendations set forth by the technical committee and duly certified by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).

The plant, which was shut down on December 26, 2023, due to an ammonia gas leak that resulted in the hospitalization of nearly 50 individuals, has since seen all affected persons fully recover.

Minister Meyyanathan's statement came in response to calls from some Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) urging the state government to permanently close the factory in the aftermath of the ammonia gas leak incident. The issue was brought up for discussion in the Assembly on Wednesday, highlighting concerns regarding the leakage of ammonia gas at the Coromandel International factory.

The minister recounted that following the incident, local residents experienced symptoms such as eye irritation, skin allergies, and breathlessness. While over 50 individuals were hospitalized, all have since been discharged. He noted that the ammonia leakage was promptly contained within 20 minutes, after which the TNPCB temporarily halted production at the factory.

On February 4, the Tamil Nadu government instructed the TNPCB to implement the recommendations outlined in the technical committee's report on the ammonia gas leak incident in Ennore. The committee was tasked with identifying the cause of the ammonia leak that occurred on December 26.

According to an official release, the committee determined that the ammonia leak originated from an under-sea pipeline belonging to Coromandel International Ltd., near the shoreline. The report highlighted the potential damage caused to the pipeline by the significant relocation of heavy granite boulders due to Cyclone Michaung.

Among its recommendations, the committee proposed the replacement of the existing offshore pipeline with a new pipeline equipped with the latest automatic control and accident prevention systems. It also stressed the importance of conducting mandatory pressure tests using nitrogen gas before every pre-cooling and ammonia transfer operation to ensure the pipeline's integrity and safety.

The TNPCB has submitted the technical committee's report to the government, which has accepted the recommendations and directed immediate implementation. The TNPCB has been tasked with ensuring compliance with all recommendations and reporting back to the government accordingly.


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