Pollution-hit farmers urge State government to expeditiously disburse compensation due to them

Distraught farmers in Karur district affected by industrial pollution caused by textile dyeing units have called upon the State government to expeditiously disburse the compensation due to them. Stating that they have been demanding due, adequate and just compensation since 2007 for the irreversible losses suffered, the farmers threatened to surrender their ration cards to the district administration for the failure to compensate in time.

There are a lot of dyeing units dotting the banks of River Amaravathy in places such as Sukkaliyur, Karuppampalayam, Sellandipalayam, Melapalayam and sporadically up to Thirumukkoodalur, the confluence of Amaravathy with River Cauvery. More than 40,000 acres of fertile lands in the region where cash crops and food crops used to be raised for centuries were denuded by sustained pollution caused by the unfettered discharge of treated and untreated effluents from the dyeing units.

Farmers also noted health trouble for human beings and cattle due to pollution. While humans developed dermatological, physiological and orthopaedic problems, cattle were affected by gastroenterological issues, fertility problems besides loss of yield. They are alleging that a host of factors have irrevocably altered the nature of the lands and no more they were as much productive.

Further, they claimed that they had presented their woes in several forums and to numerous committees and finally many of them have been accepted.

More importantly the Madras High Court too heard the cases relate to the pollution issue and on the counsel of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had directed the polluters to pay a total compensation of Rs. 6.40 crore to the affected farmers according to the extent of damage, way back in 2007. With some of the polluting units appealing against the order , the disbursal of compensation was not activated till now, the farmers claim.

The Forum of Pollution Affected Farmers, which has been fighting the cause of the ryots, mobilised pollution-hit farmers and presented their case to District Collector S. Jayandhi.

During the interaction, the farmers also claimed that despite the court ruling on installation of zero discharge system for operating dyeing units, many are operating on the sly without the mandated mechanism.

Ms. Jayandhi told them that the delay in disbursing compensation was due to the cases filed by some polluters and the officialdom was very much eager to grant the compensation due to the farmers without any delay.

Once the courts clear the hurdles the money due to them would reach them, she assured. More over, the Collector promised to take action against errant dyeing units that operated without installing zero liquid discharge systems in the region.

Forum president Ramasamy, former Karur MLA T.N. Sivasubramanian and others led the farmers during the talks.