Chennai: National Green Tribunal has summoned representatives of both the centre and the state government over the spill of hazardous oil and Liquefied Petroleum Gas or LPG off the Tamil Nadu coast last week. The green court was hearing two petitions which contradicts the assurance given by authorities involved in cleaning up the water.
"Oil spill clean-ups take decades and their impact is long term, Tamil Nadu government first says there was no spill and then in a hurry says that it's cleaned up" said Sumeer Sodhi, advocate of one of the petitioners.
On January 28, 2017, MV Maple Galaxy, owned by Tokio Marine Holding Inc. under contract with the Indian Oil Corporation, collided with another vessel near at the Port of Kamarajar in Ennore in Tamil Nadu. The ownership of the second vessel - registered in the isle of Mann - is not clear yet.
The petition appeals that both vessels involved in the accident should be seized.
The petitioners argue that the collision led to a massive spill of hazardous oil and LPG near the shoreline "causing severe damage to the ecosystem in the area and which will eventually become toxic for marine life and further result in health and other damage to the residents of the vicinity".
They want an expert committee to oversee the cleaning up and ensure set protocols are followed.
"It is worrying to see volunteers and ordinary citizens using buckets with bare hands while trying to clean up the oil spill. The oils are usually toxic and those doing the clean-up are also at risk," according to a senior counsel Rajiv Dutta.
The petition also seeks more details on the amount of oil spilled and the extent of damage.
Nearly a week after the accident, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said yesterday that 90 per cent of around 20 tonnes of the sludge in Tiruvallore, Chennai and Kancheepuram had been cleaned.