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    Polluting units must compensate affected persons

    VELLORE: The Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum (VCWF)has urged industries earning huge profit from exports to use that revenue to compensate those affected by such industries and to help damaged ecology. The forum listed the leather industry as a major source of pollution. Quoting the Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO), forum secretary P S Subrahmanian said that leather export from Tamil Nadu was the major reason behind the state breaking its export targets this year.
    Exports from TN, according the FIEO, has crossed the 33.5 billion dollar mark, recording a growth rate of 26 per cent, which is higher than the national growth rate of 21 per cent.
    While the revenue for leather export was mainly generated from Vellore district, FIEO had not explained how leather export had increased despite the directions given by the Supreme Court to be followed by this industry, he said.
    Around 546 tanneries in the state were asked to pay compensation to the farmers for damaging more than 15,000 hectares of fertile lands in Vellore district alone, during the period 1991 to 1996. While payment of compensation was still incomplete, no efforts have been taken to reverse the damaged ecology, Subrahmanian added.
    He said that the government policy to encourage export of products such as leather had an adverse impact on the environment, ecology, health and agricultural production and cannot be ignored.
    Hence, the earnings of export from these industries should be diverted to pay compensation to the affected persons as well as for reversing ecological damages at the earliest, he argued.