Coimbatore corporation draws flak over sewage discharge into Noyyal river
Chennai, April 18 (IANS) Coimbatore Municipal Corporation has drawn flak from NGOs and environmentalists over the discharge of industrial effluents and sewage into the Noyyal river, a tribute of Cauvery and a lifeline of the city.
M. Murugesan of Coimbatore Study Centre, an advocacy group studying river pollution and mining, while speaking to IANS said, "Even after repeated reminders, the Coimbatore Corporation is continuing with the discharge of untreated sewage into the Noyyal river, which is the lifeline of the city. This will lead to the river dying a slow death and will affect the drinking water and farming in and around the city."
He said that the farmers living on the banks of the river at Pattanam, Vellalore, and Uppilipalayam have complained that the groundwater has been affected due to the unabated discharge of effluents into the river.
The previous AIADMK government had allocated an amount of Rs 230 crore to rejuvenate the river.
Murugesan said, "While the previous government had indeed allocated Rs 230 crore for the rejuvenation of the river Noyyal, the plan was mostly for strengthening the bunds of the river and not for preventing the discharge of effluents."
Sukanya R., a housewife at Pattanam, who is also from an agrarian family, while speaking to IANS said, "The groundwater drawn for irrigation smells of filth and there is a colour change and we know that this is mostly due to the untreated sewage discharged by the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation as also industrial waste. The waterworks section of the PWD department must awaken from their slumber and do something for this, otherwise, the river will be dead and gone."
Farmers also complained that they had given several complaints to the District Pollution Control board but have not taken any action. Kumaresh P. , an engineer turned farmer while speaking to IANS said, "The pollution control board is not acting on the several complaints that we have filed and instead they are asking us to identify the industries that are polluting the river. We have named the Coimbatore Corporation as the first culprit, but no action."
Pollution control board officials, however, said that the work for the sewage plant is progressing and the issue would be sorted out soon. While the pollution control board is confident that the issue would be sorted out, the environmentalists are skeptical.
C. Rajeev of the Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a think tank based out of Chennai who is into environmental and river studies while speaking to IANS, said, "The river is dying a slow death and if the red tapes are not removed and government departments don't act on a war-footing it will be late. Stringent monitoring is to be done to prevent discharge of effluents in the Noyyal river that is the lifeline of Coimbatore."