Vellore, May 3 (UNI) Pollution, a prominent issue in the last two elections in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu has taken a back seat in the present assembly elections with the Supreme Court ordering the closure of tanneries in and around Vellore which have been polluting the Palar river.
The candidates contesting from the five assembly constituencies in the district, heaved a sigh of relief with the issue off their chest.
The pollution problem has posed a threat to the flora and fauna in Vaniyambadi, Peranampat, Gudidyattam, Arcot and Ranipet, besides affecting more than 12 lakh people in these areas.
The problem started in early 1970's when a cluster of Leather Industries here switched over to Mechanisation and Chemical Tanning The industry received a shot in the arm when the Central Government promoted export opportunities in a big way.
The Industrial effluents polluted the river Palar over the past three decades and the issue of ground water pollution was brought to the limelight in 1980's by various organisations.
They succeeded to some extent, by impressing upon the Government to enforce the barest minimum pollution control measures.
The Supreme Court directed the closure of the tanneries, which failed to comply with the pollution control measures, besides ordering compensation to the affected people.
The Ecology Authority had directed the tanneries subsequently to pay a sum of Rs 30 crore, as compensation to 29,000 odd farmers of this district, the process of which was yet to be completed.
No political party had promised to solve the problem of pollution in the earlier Lok Sabha and assembly elections. Now they have started makeing promises, during the ensuing campaigns that they would curb the Andhra pradesh Government's move to build a dam across river Palar to attract the voters.
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