R. Sundaram

Standing crops such as sugarcane, maize and plantain hit; farmers incur heavy loss

ERODE: Three villages in Sathyamangalam area have been affected following release of huge quantities of untreated effluents by paper industries into agricultural lands.

Eleven paper units are functioning in Kotrhamangalam, Pudupeerkadavu and Rajanagar areas in Sathyamangalam taluk. The Communist Party of India (CPI) has already filed a complaint with the Collector, D. Karthikeyan, that the paper industries were discharging untreated wastes into drains and open space. Consequently, more than 100 hectares were affected.

Following this, the Pollution Control Board staff conducted surprise check along with CPI members. They detected some irregularities and ordered action against the units.

Polluted

The president of the Groundwater and River Water Protection Council, Subbian, told The Hindu on Wednesday that because of the paper industries situated on the banks of the Bhavani river, domestic and agricultural wells in the three villages were polluted.

S.C. Natarajan, a farmer, said that standing crops like sugarcane, maize, plantain and other crops were affected and the farmers incurred heavy loss due to the stagnation of effluents near their lands. He said in Kokkarahundi village near Kothamangalam, huge quantities of effluent were found stagnated, which emanated foul smell. He added that the cattle refused to eat fodder raised in the area and the yield of milk had also come down.

The villagers appealed to the Collector to instruct the paper industries to install treatment plants.

The farmers complained that some units were dumping wastes and sludge in forest area. Because of this, water sources in the forest areas were also affected. However, the industrialists denied the charges and said that effluents were treated before discharge.

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