It is the first time the authorities had taken the stringent action

Over 30 dyeing units, which were found being operated illegally, were demolished and the machineries were dismantled during a massive drive launched by the district administration against the polluting industrial units in the district on Friday. It was the first time the authorities had taken the stringent action of demolishing the dyeing units, which were found letting out thousands of gallons of untreated toxic effluents in the River Cauvery.

“A majority of these units had originally functioned in Tirupur and shifted to Erode after the Madras High Court ordered the closure of polluting textile processing units. Most of these units were found functioning under makeshift structures,” a senior official, who supervised the drive, told The Hindu.

The drive was launched following complaints from the public that a number of new units had come up along the banks of Cauvery and Bhavani Rivers following the closure of units in Tirupur.

On instructions from Collector C. Kamaraj, two teams led by Revenue Divisional Officer R. Sukumar and District Environmental Engineer M. Malaiyandi conducted checks at BP Agaraharam, Kani Ravuthar Kulam, Velan Nagar, Periya Semur and a number of other parts in Erode town and its suburbs on Friday morning. The teams identified many unauthorised dyeing units during the check. The officials deployed earth movers to demolish the water tanks, storage facilities and other concrete structures in the units. Some of the units were found indulging in power theft as well.

“We informed the officials of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation, who made a spot assessment and slapped fines on the owners of the units,” officials said.

Meanwhile, the administration had also taken steps to initiate criminal action against the owners of the unauthorised dyeing units. “These units had caused serious damage to the environment. We will initiate stern action against the owners of the units after a detailed investigation,” revenue officials said.

The administration also planned to initiate action against the owners of the lands, on which the units were established.

“The drive will continue across the district in the coming days. All the unauthorised textile processing units will be demolished. We will also initiate action against the units, which have approval and are found polluting the environment,” officials added.