VELLORE: The Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum (VCWF) has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to draw up a plan for compensating farmers and residents affected by industrial pollution in addition to reviving the polluted Palar river on the lines of Ganga Action Plan.
In a memorandum sent to the Prime Minister, the Union Water Resources Minister and the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, the VCWF president K A Sadasivam said, the union government, the Tamil Nadu government, the Central Pollution Control Board, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture had not taken steps to implement the directions of the SC in the writ filed by the Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum Tannery Pollution in 1996.
The forum pointed out that in its judgment delivered on August 28, 1996, the SC had stated that though the industry might have set up the necessary pollution control device, it remained liable for the environmental degradation and residents suffering from pollution.
The forum also appealed to the Ministry of Environment to pass orders ensuring adherence to specific norms compiled by these industries on par with international standards. The Ministry should permit only those industries that are non-polluting and eco-friendly so that the unemployment arising due to closure of polluting industries could be taken care of by green industries.
The VCWF has pointed out that since the pollution was continuing unabated in the Palar belt, the farmers should be compensated for the loss of crops.
The forum has pointed out that both Centre and the State were supporting the polluting industries by extending subsidies, grants and loans at lower interest whereas farmers, workers and the public, who were affected by these polluting industries were not being taken care of.
This is a violation of human rights as well as Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian constitution, the forum said.