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Pollution-hit farmers, residents plan to boycott Assembly election

L. Renganathan

They demand compensation for irreparable damage caused to the Noyyal river

KARUR: Demanding adequate compensation and an end to pollution of the Noyyal river by hundreds of bleaching and dyeing units in Tirupur that let effluents into it, farmers and people living along its banks in Karur district have decided to boycott the Assembly polls. Over a dozen women self-help groups in the affected area have also decided to join the boycott. The Paramathi Area Noyyal River and Channel Ayacutdars Association has been spearheading the movement to bring to light the plight of pollution-affected farmers and residents. A continued apathy of the administration, notwithstanding the Madras High Court directives to the Tirupur polluters, has irked the affected. "We've lost our fertile land. Drinking water sources have been irredeemably affected and still the polluters are not heeding court directives. The authorities are less than helpful. We are left with no option but to boycott polls," say farmers of Kuppam village.

Popular sentiment

The association organised a couple of meetings to discuss the issue in the affected areas where the popular sentiment was to boycott polls.

According to the villagers, while the affected people in Coimbatore and Erode districts have received compensation, the Athupalayam, Noyyal and Cauvery ayacut farmers are yet to receive it.

Till a solution is found to our problems, there is no point in participating in the democratic process, they say. This is the time to remind the authorities that there existed a group of people affected by pollution and yet to be compensated, said Association president M. Ramasamy. "We are even planning to take the issue to the World Health Organisation if our plight goes unnoticed," he said.

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