the district authorities of Coimbatore and Tirupur in Tamil Nadu have cracked down upon industrial units polluting the river Noyyal. Coimbatore and Tirupur are India's major centres for the manufacture of textiles and cotton knitwear, respectively. In the second week of March 2005, the authorities ordered the erring units to shell out a compensation of about Rs 25 crore to the farmers of the area.
The tehsildars in Tirupur, Coimbatore North and Coimbatore South have been instructed to issue notices to about 850 polluting units in this regard. Payments will have to be made in the form of bimonthly instalments, with effect from March 1, 2005. Failure to do so will invite prosecution under the Revenue Recovery Act, which empowers the state government to take over and auction erring units.
Tirupur's dyeing units have been asked to pay Rs 24 crore to farmers in nine villages of Tirupur and Avinashi talukas. Dyers in Coimbatore need to pay Rs 75 lakh to 3,000 farmers of around 25 villages. They have failed the mandatory requirement of installing common effluent treatment plants. As a result, the polluted water of river Noyyal continues to fill the Ukkadam tank, contaminating the area's groundwater.
Officials say the erring units will have to keep paying the compensation till the time they bring the level of total dissolved solids in their effluents below 2,000 parts per million. For this, they will have to invest in membrane technologies like the reverse osmosis (ro). A few dyeing units in Tirupur have already installed ro plants.