The Kerala State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has directed the Department of Factories and Boilers to initiate action against the Indian Medical Association (IMA)-owned biomedical treatment plant at Manthuruthi, near Malampuzha, for functioning without the mandatory licence for the last 11 years.
The move assumes significance against the backdrop of a warning by the Health Department that the plant would not be permitted to function if proper steps aimed at scientific disposal of biomedical waste were not taken.
The department informed the commission that it was mandatory that units with more than 10 workers and continuous engagement in processing, manufacturing, and distribution of any product to come within the ambit of the Act.
Though the inspection revealed that the unit processed used syringes and gloves and transport them to Coimbatore to sell to medical equipment manufacturing units, no licence was obtained.
‘‘Without the department licence, no employee can claim any compensation. The plant was risking the safety of workers at the same time polluting the environment. It also contaminates the Malampuzha reservoir which provides drinking water to many parts of Palakkad,’’ said Mr Panicker.