Farmers living alongside River Noyyal, who faced the brunt of the indiscriminate effluent discharge from dyeing units, are firm on their decision that they would not be ready for any compromise with dyers other than ensuring of zero liquid discharge (ZLD).

A.P. Kandasamy, president of Noyyal River Ayacutdars Protection Association (NRAPA), and on whose contempt petitions the Madras High Court ordered closure of all 754 dyeing and bleaching units in January, told The Hindu that the farmers had conveyed this stance to the government recently through Industries Minister C. Shanmugavelu.

“We have even submitted a booklet containing our justification why the farmers' fraternity wanted the compliance of ZLD, as directed by the court, without getting the criteria diluted by any other alternative method,” he said.

He termed it absurd the proposals aired by a certain sections of industrialists in different forums to allow them continue with the discharge of effluents into River Noyyal subject to the condition that TDS (total dissolved solids) level would be maintained at 2,100 ppm (parts per million).

“We have been forced to take the legal recourse only because of the frequent pollution control norms violations by the dyers in Tirupur cluster whenever they were allowed any sort of discharge all through the last 15 years,” Mr. Kandasamy said.

The farmers had also recently rejected a proposal put forward by the president of an industrial association to the NRPA's legal consultant to allow nine more months to the dyers for ensuring compliance of ZLD norms.

“The suggestion too was rejected point blank as dyers who told the Madras High Court of the same demand in the last week of March, which resulted in the court imposing costs on the Dyers Association for trying to ‘indirectly nullify the closure order issued on January 28', started approaching the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) within the next few days stating various units had successfully implemented the ZLD systems,” they reminded.

The TNPCB district environmental engineer said that seven dyeing units had been given permission to recommence their operations after they successfully implemented the ZLD system.

With the farmers inflexible on their stance, the rest of the dyers' have now just one solution ahead of them that of following the pollution control guidelines if they had to restart operations of their units.

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