Staff Reporter

ERODE: Farmers have reacted cautiously to the Chief Minister's recent announcement in the Assembly on sea discharge of effluents.

The Chief Minister had said that effluents would be diverted to Nagapattinam from Tirupur, Erode and Karur through pipeline. In Erode more than 530 textile dyeing and printing units and 42 tanneries are functioning.

Most of the factories are functioning on the sides of Kalingarayan canal and Cauvery River. Because of large-scale discharge of untreated effluents into the drains, which reached the Kalingarayan canal, the farmers were affected and the crop yield also fell significantly.

Petition filed

The farmers filed a petition in the Madras High Court, which instructed the industries to erect Reverse Osmosis Plant on or before December 31 last and ensure zero discharge. But the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Erode, has stated that only 25 per cent of the industries have followed the directive.

The president of Erode District Farmers' Association, S. Nallasamy, said he preferred a wait and watch approach rather than jump to congratulate the Government.

"Given our bitter experience in dealing with the Government in the pollution problem, we will like to see it in reality and then comment." On the discharge of effluents into sea, as mentioned by the Chief Minister, he wondered if the fishermen would remain idle and watch the effluents being let into the sea.

V. M. Velayudham of the Kalingarayan Ayacut Farmers' Association says the announcement is no doubt welcome but wants to know how the polluting units will function until the pipe for sea discharge is laid. "Will they comply with pollution control norms and set up a treatment plant or continue the status quo," he asks. He says that if it takes a long time for the pipeline to be laid, then the farmers have to continue suffering until such time. Head of the Noyyal Farmers' Protection Committee could not be reached.

The president of the Lower Bhavani Project Ryots Association, C. Nallasamy, said many countries would oppose the letting of treated effluents into the sea.

So, the Government should get permission from the Central Government before implementing it.