‘Initiate criminal action against those running such units'
After a brief lull, the menace of illegal dyeing units has resurfaced in the Tirupur-Namakkal belt. The units have come up even after the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board carried out an extensive demolition drive a few months ago.
A total of 25 illegal textile processing units were demolished in Erode district during the last two weeks. And, the TNPCB issued on Thursday orders for the sealing of seven units in Tirupur.
District Environment Engineer of the TNPCB in Tirupur R. Kannan told The Hindu that the units were situated at Lakshmi Nagar and Kongu Nagar and were found to be discharging effluents into River Noyyal.
TNPCB sources said action would be taken against the units under Section 33 A of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 if they were found to discharge effluents in the open anymore. Criminal action would also be initiated in addition to disconnecting power lines.
Reports from Erode and Namakkal say that a majority of the illegal units were found functioning within the town limits and dumping huge amount of toxic, untreated effluents in channels and drains.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had demolished a total of 95 illegal textile processing units since the drive was launched in November 2011. Earlier, officials demolished over 90 units before the Assembly elections.
While appreciating the efforts taken by the TNPCB, environmentalists and farmers here wanted the authorities to initiate criminal action against those found running illegal textile processing units to deter recurrence of the problem.
“Since the administration is not taking any criminal action, persons continue to establish these units and pollute the environment,” Kalingarayan Pasana Sabhai president V.M. Velayudham said.
TNPCB officials said that they could only take a legal action against the owners of illegal textile processing units. “If we take the legal course, it will take years to punish the offenders. But the district administration, however, can initiate criminal action against the owners,” they pointed out.
Meanwhile, the TNPCB authorities demolished machineries worth over Rs. 50 lakh in a similar drive at Namakkal on Thursday. They evicted eight illegal dyeing units near River Cauvery at Molasi, Patlur and Irayamangalam in Tiruchengode Taluk.
TNPCB District Environmental Engineer K. Gokulads told The Hindu that they identified two units with six machineries when they surveyed the locality couple of days ago. “Locals who saw us evict those units on
Thursday helped us identify six more units that were hidden in the sugarcane fields”, the DEE said.
He observed that the units directly dumped effluents into River Cauvery using pipelines. Assistant Environmental Engineers K. Yogan and R. Cheralathan AEE, officials from the TNPCB Flying Squad in Erode, Molasi and Pallipalayam Police were present during the drive.
(With inputs from S. Ramesh in Erode and M.K. Ananth in Namakkal).