The district administration disbursed compensation of Rs 6.25 crore to 6,370 farmers, whose agricultural lands had been polluted due to untreated effluents from tanneries 20 years ago. By giving away the compensation, the district administration has achieved 94 per cent of the disbursement of the total compensation of Rs 32.53 crore, which was collected from the polluters (tanneries) in the district.
The SC had issued the final order on March 7, 2001, awarding a total compensation of Rs 32.53 crore to 32,393 identified individuals from 186 villages in the district.
The Loss of Ecology (Prevention and Payment of Compensation) Authority derived the compensation amount for loss of ecology for a period of 7.4 years between August 1991 and December 1998. “The farmers were awarded a compensation of Rs 7,400 to Rs 1,03,600 per hectare of land for the period,” executive member of Vellore District Environment Monitoring Committee N Gajapathi said. The order further stated that the Collector should collect the compensation amount from the 548 identified polluters and disburse the same to the affected individuals (farmers) from the ‘Environment Protection Fund’.
The administration collected Rs 24.26 crore in four instalments and disbursed it to 23,382 affected farmers from 2002 to 2008. The SC’s interim order February 20, 2013 came as a sigh of relief for the other 9,011 farmers as it directed the State not to delay the remaining compensation of Rs 8,27 crore. “The SC directed the TN government to pay the farmers from its source and get reimbursement from the polluter,” said Gajapathi.
The State sanctioned Rs 2.77 Cr towards the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) account. “We collected Rs 6.25 crore from the polluters from March to July this year and disbursed it to 6,370 farmers. So far, Rs 30.53 crore has been disbursed to the farmers,” Collector P Sankar said.
“The affected farmers can approach the RDOs of Vellore and Ranipet and sub-collector of Tirupattur to collect their compensation, by producing relevant documents,” the collector said.