In a major crackdown, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) began demolishing the buildings housing dyeing units at Pallipalayam in Namakkal district on Sunday.

The drive began on Sunday with the demolition of 28 units at Pallipalayam, Vediarasampalayam, Andikadu and Ottamethai. Over 120 cement tanks used for manual dyeing and four borewells used by the units were destroyed using four earthmovers.

District Collector V. Dakshinamoorthy told The Hindu that the major drive was initiated to save the Cauvery river, major drinking water source for people living downstream. Many of the destroyed units were already sealed a few months ago but were operated illegally after breaking the seals.

“We resumed the drive after three months as the illegal operation of these units is rampant and is badly polluting the Cauvery river which was being affected. Water released from the sluices of Mettur dam is meant only for meeting the drinking water needs of people living downstream of the dam”, he said.

Apart from the machinery, the buildings were also razed down. “In the past the tanks and machinery used for dyeing were demolished. We are now destroying buildings as we do not want to give them a chance to re-establish their units,” TNPCB District Environmental Engineer (DEE), Namakkal, M. Murugan said. About 100 police personnel were deployed. Totally, 210 units at Pallipalayam and Komarapalayam will be evicted.

73 units sealed

“In the last week of November and the first week of December last year, we sealed 73 units located in and around Pallipalayam and 137 units at Komarapalayam – on the banks of the Cauvery river – as they continued dumping effluents into the river despite our repeated warning”, the DEE said. Cases were registered against a few units for breaking the seal.

“Ten units were evicted in February. The drive was stopped as the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha election came into effect”, the Collector and Returning Officer of Namakkal Constituency said.

He said that permission was sought from Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar to resume the eviction after the re-poll, on Saturday, by explaining the pollution menace. “We also got directions from TNPCB chairman D. Karthikeyan to resume the drive”, the Collector said.

Mr. Murugan said that the drive would be completed at Pallipalayam in a couple of days before it began at Komarapalayam.

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