Drive against polluting textile and tannery units

27 February 2012

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has demolished a total of 11 textile processing units operated illegally in different parts of Erode block in the past week. Erode is situated at the centre of the South Indian Peninsula, about 400 kilometres (249 miles) southwest of the state capital Chennai and on the banks of the rivers Cauvery and Bhavani.

The TNPCB, along with the revenue department, re-launched the drive against the polluting textile processing and tannery units in the district following widespread complaints from the farmers and residents on the increasing levels of pollution in water sources.

All the 11 units were found operating very close to the water carrying channels and dumping huge amount of untreated, toxic effluents in them, causing irreversible damage to the environment. Officials from the board and the revenue department demolished the concrete structures and dismantled the machineries in these units. They also removed the power connection to one more unit, which actually obtained approval for bleaching but was found to be dyeing and thus was disconnected.

While appreciating the action being taken by the board, the farming community in the district wanted the authorities concerned to intensify the drive as a large number illegal dyeing units had come up in the district. These units let out thousands of gallons of untreated effluents every day, threatening the future of the agriculture sector, farmers said.

The district level co-ordinating committee should identify all the unapproved units and pull them down, farmers demanded.

They also wanted the district authorities to closely monitor the approved textile processing and tannery units and shut down those units that were found violating the rules. There should not be any delays in shutting down the approved units that are polluting the water sources, farmers stressed.

The board, however, assured that it would continue to carry out the drive. ‘We have identified a few more illegal units and will bring them down soon. Teams are also working to find out unapproved units across the district,’ a senior official told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, the farming community wanted the district administration to initiate criminal action against those operating illegal textile processing units. ‘Only when criminal cases are booked against the owners of such units, they will not make another attempt to open illegal units in the future,’ the farmers said.

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