Residents of Krishnapuram and nearby villages staged a protest at the Collectorate, demanding the closure of South Ganga Water Technology Private Limited, a private desalination plant, alleging that its effluents posed serious health hazards. Led by M. Karunamurthy, district secretary of the CITU affiliated to Tamil Nadu Meenpidi Thozhirsanga Koottamaippu, people from Krishnapuram, Pudukudiuruppu and Panaikulam thronged the Collectorate here on Thursday and raising slogans, demanding the permanent closure of the plant. Earlier, they gathered at the entrance of the Collectorate complex and attempted to take march blindfolded, but Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Natarajan persuaded them to give up the stir. Later, they assembled inside the Collectorate and staged the agitation. Mr. Karunamurthy said after the district administration ordered suspension of operation of the plant in July last, for failing to set right the infrastructures and carrying out modifications as per the guidelines, the management produced completion certificates and the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) has permitted the company to resume operations from January. The protestors objected to the permission, alleging that the plant had done enough problems to the residents of Krishnapuram and nearby villages and it should not be allowed to operate until it was held accountable especially for polluting the groundwater sources and the local oorani (water body) by letting out chemical effluents. Two people have died of kidney ailments after consuming the contaminated water and the plant should be held responsible for the deaths, Mr. Karunamurthy said. The villagers also opposed to desilting the Annavi Oorani, which was used by the plant to store the effluents. The water body was the only evidence for the destruction caused by the plant and the desilting would amount to destroying the evidence, they said. They urged Collector S. Natarajan to cancel the permission order given by the RDO and protect their interests. The Collector said he would look into the issue and take necessary action. The 0.5 MLD desalination plant had been functioning in the village since 2005 and has been supplying treated water to the gas based power plants at Vazhuthur.