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Kalingarayan canal carrying ‘black liquid’

S. Ramesh
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‘Industrial units poisoning the entire canal by discharging untreated effluents’

Untreated effluents flowing in the Kalingarayan canal at Vendipalayam near Erode on Tuesday.
Untreated effluents flowing in the Kalingarayan canal at Vendipalayam near Erode on Tuesday.

The drought sweeping most parts of the district has left many well-known water carrying channels reliant on textile processing and tannery units for their “water”, with long stretches that are filled entirely with untreated effluents.

The Kalingarayan canal, Sunnambu Odai, Perumballam Odai have all become dependent on “man-made water” to stop them drying up.

The release of water from the Bhavanisagar reservoir into the 56-and-a-half mile long Kalingarayan canal for irrigation has been stopped several weeks ago as the public works department is carrying out repair and maintenance works. But the canal still carries huge amount of “water” because the many textile processing and tannery units are dumping thousands of gallons of toxic effluents.

This is despite the officials claiming that they have controlled pollution levels in the district to a greater extent.

“The canal, which was built by the Kongu chieftain Kalingarayan 700 years ago connecting River Bhavani with River Noyyal, is the lifeline of more than 30,000 farmers in the district. The industrial units are poisoning the entire Kalingarayan ayacut by discharging untreated effluents,” Kalingarayan Pasana Sabhai President V.M. Velayudham charges.

On Tuesday, the canal was found carrying huge amount of thick black colour liquid near Vendipalayam and the area was enveloped in an acrid smell.

“The soil is becoming unproductive in many parts of the district due to the discharge of untreated industrial effluents in Kalingarayan canal and many other waterways. We have been fighting against the growing pollution levels. But the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the district administration have failed to close all the polluting units,” T. Subbu, District Secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association points out.

Officials in the TNPCB and the district administration, however, have a different story to tell. They claim that they have demolished more than 100 illegal textile processing units and controlled the dumping of untreated effluents to a greater extent.

But the farmers allege that there is no continuous monitoring in the district, which has led to the establishment of many unauthorised textile processing units. Officials should initiate more concrete steps to curb pollution, they demand.

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