Continued effluent discharge into water bodies by dyeing units even after the allocation of Rs. 320 crore government grant to help them offset the cost incurred for setting up Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP), is causing serious threat to the environment and denting the image of Tirupur knitwear cluster.

Since the Supreme Court ban on discharge of effluents into water bodies came into force on January 6, as many as 177 dyeing units had been closed down by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) for violation of the court directive which is an indicator of how serious the pollution going unabated in the cluster. Moreover, TNPCB sources had indicated that many more units were under their scanner already. It may be noted that 139 out of the 177 dyeing units closed down by the TNPCB were members of various CETPs in the cluster which technically were equipped with Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) facilities to comply with the Supreme Court order.

According to TNPCB sources, the units have been closed down after it was found circumnavigating the ZLD system to cut down costs and discharged the effluents indiscriminately into the water bodies.

Farmers furious

Farmers along the course of River Noyyal, who were at the receiving end of the industrial pollution for over the last two decades now feel every reason to substantiate their accusation.

“The allocation of grant to the dyers association on their request itself is a violation of the court verdict in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Noyyal River Ayacutdars Protection Association, which stated that polluters pay,” K. C. M. Balasubramanian, Uzhaivar Uzhaipalar Katchi state advisor and a progressive farmer himself, told The Hindu.

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