VELLORE: The Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum (VCWF) has opposed the proposed move of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to set up zonal offices in five locations across the State, including Vellore.
The forum stated that such zonal offices were just an eyewash meant to speed up the mechanism of granting “consent” to set up new industrial units that could be potential polluters.
Honorary secretary of the forum, P S Subrahmanian said that while the proposed zonal offices should have a more effective role in preventing pollution, such offices blindly gave the go-ahead to polluting industrial units.
Moreover, in response to a writ petition filed by the forum against leather industries, the apex court in its verdict in 1996 had said that ‘consent’ should not be given for new polluting industries to be set up in the State. Section 25 of the Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974 made it mandatory that without the consent of the TNPCB, the industries should not use any new or altered outlet to discharge sewage or trade effluents into water bodies.
The forum pointed out that in the case of Vellore district, the Palar river and its tributaries have been polluted for over three decades by chemical industries and tanneries approved
by TNPCB. It revealed that the ecological damage to these places has been huge with water bodies in several areas turning unfit for use.
The forum felt that the proposed zonal offices were redundant and the State should not permit new industries to be set up in Vellore, Tiruchy, Kancheepuram, Dindigul and Erode.