Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Violence against Nitta Gelatin India is a Planned, Continuing Story, says MD



Kochi, November 11, 2014: Addressing the media on the day after nine armed men attacked and vandalized the head office of Nitta Gelatin India (NGIL), Mr. Sajiv K. Menon, Managing Director, NGIL, came down heavily on the planned and cowardly act and said that the incident is not an isolated one as NGIL has been singled out for the past many years and victimized unjustifiably by systematic violence.

“We have a sad and long history of victimization that dates back to the 1980’s and the latest one is the most serious and heinous of all as it happened in broad daylight in the heart of Kochi signaling a very wrong message to the present and prospective investors in the state with a potential to damage the investment climate here. Earlier, there were interruptions to the functioning of the Ossein plant, sabotaging company’s properties and equipment, prevention of company’s staff from entering or leaving from the factory, blockages of goods movements and the like as listed separately in a statement titled ‘chronology of violent acts against Nitta Gelatin’. All of these violent acts were made under the pretext of taking law into one’s hands raising unrealistic pollution charges against the company. Left unabated, we do not know what such anti-social elements are capable of doing in the future. All along these years, we have been a responsible, law-abiding corporate citizen and it has been proven time and again by independent bodies that we are compliant to the various pollution control standards,” Mr. Menon explained.

He reiterated on the recent report of the High Court-ordered study by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which confirmed that the company is compliant with the various regulations relating to pollution control. “NEERI has put forward 23 recommendations, and as of now, we have already implemented more than half of them and the remaining ones are under various stages of implementation. We shall complete them by March 2015 way ahead of the stipulated schedule. In fact, we have always been much beyond such recommendations as we are now ready to install a new biomethenizaiton facility at the cost of around Rs.5 crores, one of such voluntary acts from our side,” Mr. Menon said. He also cited a recent Community Need Assessment Study by the Rajagiri Centre for Business Studies, which also did not find anything adverse against the company.

“Importantly, our main raw materials are cattle bones, made available in big volumes in the country on a daily basis, which, in fact, would have been causing a major threat to the environment if left unused. We are transforming this colossal waste into wealth and are major foreign exchange earners exporting our products to many countries worldwide. Also, one must note the fact the most of the company’s products are essential ingredients in the pharmaceuticals industry where it is used in many life-saving drugs among others,” he said.

Mr. Menon also said the company has been paying Rs.30 crores as taxes/duties to the exchequer annually while it has been paying a dividend of Rs.6 crores to KSIDC for the last 5 years.  The company is directly employing 600 people and 500 on contract basis while indirecty employing nearly 25,000 people.
Mr. Menon also listed several of the measures undertaken by the company including a new biogas plant (with a capacity to process 983m³/day of production effluents to generate 2780 m³ of biogas/day), biofilters to control odor, a new set of bag filters set up in the Di calcium phosphate plant to eliminate dust and the technology developed for converting the sludge into a valuable crop nutrient. “We have spent around Rs. 8.41Cr for such pollution control measures during 2008 to 2014 at Ossein Division alone,” he revealed. “The company has established a greenbelt in tie-up with the Kerala Forest Research Institute.  The experts note that the trees and plants here mark 4-5 times extra growth, reflecting the conducive conditions prevailing,” Mr. Menon pointed out. The company has put up an online display screen at the main entrance of the Ossein factory to continuously display the Ph value of the treated-water being discharged. As per the recommendation by the Expert Committee constituted by the Govt. of Kerala, a continuous air monitoring system has also been set up here. The company has implemented all the recommendations made by this Committee except cleaning the Chalakkudy river shore near the discharge point of the factory.   The application seeking the necessary permission in this regard made by the Company is currently under consideration of the Irrigation Department, Government of Kerala.

Over the years, the company has halved the intake of water from the Chalakkudy river from 5900 m³/day to 3000 m³/day in conformity with the revised sanctioned norms. The factory has an effective ETP facility at an operating expenditure of Rs. 5 lakhs per day.

In the past five years, the company has successfully completed various CSR activities including drinking water/lift irrigation schemes; subsidy for domestic biogas plants; organic farming projects; self- employment schemes besides organizing health/education camps.

In light of the findings of the studies by NEERI and Rajagiri which are a testimony to the efficacy of the sound environment management systems in vogue, the company is looking forward to the future with optimism and to operate in full harmony with the community around. While 2013-14 was a difficult year, in the backdrop of the improved conditions, the company is looking forward to achieving a turnaround and post profits in the current year.

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