The Tamil Nadu government has directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to implement the recommendations of the technical committee report on the ammonia gas leak in Ennore, in North Chennai. The State government had constituted a technical committee to ascertain the cause of the ammonia leak in Ennore on December 26.

An official release said the ammonia leak had occurred from the under-sea pipeline of Coromandel International Ltd., close to the shore. It was also observed by the committee that the significant relocation of heavy granite boulders around the pipeline due to Cyclone Michaung could have caused damage to the pipeline, which resulted in the ammonia gas leakage.

Committee’s recommendations

The committee, in its recommendations, said the unit shall replace the existing offshore pipeline with a new pipeline with latest automatic control, and an accident prevention system. The pipeline is not properly protected at the location where it emerges out of sea water and crosses the road to reach the plant.

Before every pre-cooling and ammonia transfer operation, the unit shall carry out a mandatory pressure test using nitrogen gas to check the integrity of the pipeline. Only after ensuring that the pipeline is intact and safe should any ammonia be transferred to the pipeline, the committee said.

The TNPCB shall take immediate action to direct the unit to pay the environmental compensation of ₹5.92 crore to the TNPCB for environmental mitigation and to take legal action against the unit for non-compliance with the conditions of the consent order issued under the Air Act.

TNPCB has submitted the above report of the Technical Committee to the government. The government has accepted the recommendations of the committee and directed TNPCB to implement all recommendations of the technical committee immediately and report compliance, the release said.