Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has said that it has commenced soil remediation on a trial basis at its former thermometer factory site in Kodaikanal, where it has been facing protest from non-government organisations for alleged mercury contamination.
HUL has received all the required statutory permissions and has completed the preparatory work required to start the soil remediation trial. The company will conduct the trial for three months in accordance with the detailed project report and as per the approval given by the local regulatory authority (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board), it said on Friday.
The trial will be monitored by TNPCB, the Scientific Experts Committee (SEC) constituted by the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee, and the Central Pollution Control Board. The TNPCB and SEC will review the results of the trial submitted by HUL and decide the Site Specific Target Level for the soil remediation process.
HUL said it was granted permission by TNPCB to start soil remediation on trial basis against which protesters approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Zone. The NGT on April 20 passed an interim order upholding the consent granted by TNPCB.
Dev Bajpai, executive director, legal and corporate affairs, HUL, said, “The commencement of the soil remediation trial is an important step in our efforts to bring this issue to closure at the earliest.”
Earlier, the company had entered into a settlement with the former employees of the factory, providing compensation on condition of confidentiality of the settlement terms.