Proposal of grant to Tirupur dyeing units opposed

VELLORE: The Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum (VCWF) has opposed the proposal of the Union government, announced in the recent budget, of a one-time grant of Rs.200 crore for dyeing industries of Tirupur to enable them solve the problem of pollution.

A resolution was adopted at an executive committee meeting of the VCWF recently.

The resolution said that the proposal was against the directions of the Supreme Court established in the writ petition no.914 of 1991 of the VCWF, namely, “polluters to pay” and “precautionary principles to be taken before establishment of industries.”

Such a grant, it said, “also violates Article 48 A of the Constitution which talks of protection and improvement of environment.”

Pointing out that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had, in his budget speech, mentioned about the ‘polluters to pay’ principle, the forum said that instead of directing the polluting industries to bring back the ecology to its original state at its cost, helping the polluting industries amounted to violation of the Article by the government itself.

The resolution further stated that the VCWF is of the firm view that the said expenditure of Rs.200 crore would not lead to the industries meeting the norms of pollution control laid down by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to the dyeing industries but, on the other hand, lead to the aggravation of the pollution problem.

The forum also opposed the decision of the Tamil Nadu government to grant Rs.120 crore as its 15 per cent share in the setting up of Common Effluent Treatment Plants for achieving the zero discharge liquid (ZDL) norm in the treatment of the effluents discharged by dyeing and bleaching units in Tirupur.

The VCWF pointed out that this is a “clear disobedience of the orders of the apex court and also the orders passed by the Green Bench of the Madras High Court in the Noyyal River Ayacutdars’ case, as reported in 1997 I Law Weekly page 275 (Madras High Court) and 2010 I Law Weekly page 1 (Supreme Court).

It said that it was the duty of the Tamil Nadu government to enforce the ‘polluter pays’ principle and ‘precautionary’ principle.

“The grant will lead the tax payers’ money to be spent on unproductive, illegal, anti-farmer and anti-people purposes,” it said.


India: SC tells Tirupur’s dyeing industry to pay for polluting

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court has come down hard on industries polluting water bodies, applying the ‘polluters pay’ principle against 150-odd dyeing units in Tirupur’s garment export which had been discharging their waste in Noyyal river.

In an order that may be cited by green activists, the court asked the dyeing units at Karur and Tirupur, which cater to the huge forex earning garment export industry in Tamil Nadu, to pay for cleaning the River Noyyal and other water bodies massively polluted by discharge from their factories.

Agreeing with the stand of the Noyyal River Ayacutdars Protection Association, SC refused to take any lenient view of the environmental hazard resulting from the noxious effluent discharged by the factories adversely affecting the river, the Orthapalayam reservoir and other tanks and channels of the river.

The court noted that the industries have set up 17 common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) and were asked to pay up Rs 55.60 crore for eco-restoration and pollution check work. The Tirupur Dyeing Factories Association, as per a Madras High Court order, had paid up Rs 25 crore for this purpose. The SC said the rest of the amount had to be paid within three months.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan said: “It is desirable that the members of the appellant association should ensure the compliance of the directions including the payment of the dues within three months.”

“They shall ensure that no pollution is caused to the river or dam and if cleaning operation has not yet been completed, it shall be completed within three months,” the Bench said.

It said: “Undoubtedly, there has been unabated pollution by the members of the appellant association. They cannot escape the responsibility to meet the expenses of reversing the ecological damage. They are bound to meet the expenses of removing the sludge from the river and also for cleaning the dam. The principles of `polluters pay’ and `precautionary principle’ have to be read with the doctrine of sustainable development.”

The court noted that Tirupur was an industrial hub providing employment to five lakh people in garment industries there, which earn around Rs 10,000 crore in foreign exchange annually for the country. 


Erode – Orathupalayam dam gets good inflow

ERODE: The Orathupalayam dam received over 14 ft of water from the Noyyal river under southwest monsoon. But the entire water is being drained into the Cauvery river instead of using it for irrigation, as the water from the Noyyal is filled with textile effluents from Tirupur textile units.

Erode - Orathupalayam-dam

Erode - Orathupalayam-dam

Though the dam was constructed in 1992 for irrigating over 10,000 acres in Erode and Karur, it was used by the farmers only for five years as it became a storage tank for textile effluents after that. The farmers, who depended on the dam and river for irrigation, stopped the farm activity in their land. Following many agitations and petitions in the High Court, the High Court, nearly 10 years ago, appointed a committee, led by retired PWD chief engineer Sivaraman, to deal with the issue.

Thus nearly three years back, the PWD, as per the HC order, spent over Rs 2 crore to renovate the dam, desilt the water spread area of the dam, dug a small canal to let the incoming water into the Cauvery river directly without storing it in the dam. But the problem still persisted. Though the PWD, last year, planned to store clean rain water in the dam to restart the farm activity in the area, the NW monsoon during the time resulted in the arrival of effluent water into the dam and hit the plan.

“Sivaraman Committee took many steps to stop discharge of effluents into Noyyal river and dam. But the present storage of effluents in the dam indicates that the problem is still persisting,” said a farmers’ association leader E R Kumarasamy adding that already, due to pollution problem, groundwater in many villages around the dam and river was hit and the villagers depend on water supply from other areas.

“As people suffered huge loss of revenue due to lack of agriculture activity, the HC asked the units to give suitable compensation to the farmers affected. But it was also not properly fixed due to some lapses in the survey work,” rued another leader Subbu.

When local MLA Vidiyal Sekar raked up the issue in the Assembly on Tuesday, the Chief Minister promised to ask the officials to distribute the aid in fair manner, he said.