While drinking water scarcity and inadequate power are a widespread phenomenon transcending Karur Lok Sabha constituency spread over four districts in the central region of the State, the prolonged agony of textile exporters and thousands of people connected to its allied activities in Karur district has assumed importance given the silence of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in addressing the issues during her weekend campaign in Karur.

Farmers successfully forced the closure of polluting dyeing units after a two-decade struggle that ended with the Madras High Court ruling that dyeing units must follow zero liquid discharge mechanism if they were to operate. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board must monitor the process; it had ruled two years back that resulted in the closure of more than 450 small and medium dyeing units that were operating in Karur plunging the textile export industry into a deep crisis. The TNPCB has been demolishing illegally operating units regularly and has been maintaining a vigil over the developments. The ban and the activism has upset the textile exporters who are now forced to undertake dyeing activities in neighbouring districts and States at additional cost.

Balancing the conflicting interests of polluting textile industrialists and suffering farmers is a rather delicate political task for the parties. While the DMK accuses the AIADMK of not finding a solution to the vexed pollution issue, the AIDMK is turning the table on the DMK saying the Opposition party had not done anything to prevent the situation slipping into a crisis while it was in power during 2006-11. But the DMK circles allege that as the ruling party, the AIADMK must have taken the lead to address the crisis. When the textile industrialists were competing globally for wafer thin margins, the ruling party has not done its part to help them, DMK avers, pointing to the silence of Ms.Jayalalithaa on the issue.

The AIADMK, led by the Transport Minister V.Senthil Balaji and party candidate M.Thambidurai, have been forthright in damning the DMK for its “ineffective handling of the case’’ involving the livelihood of thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

They reject ``any notion’’ of the DMK having helped the textile sector or the farming sector in the issue while saying that Ms.Jayalalithaa would definitely come up with a bipartisan support solution that would lift the textile industry ``from the morass in which the DMK left it’’.