Protesting pollution, Gujarat farmers force closure of shops

May 11th, 2009 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Jetpur (Gujarat), May 11 (IANS) Nearly 100 farmers living around this Gujarat town - a hub for dyeing and printing of saris - Monday forced closure of all the markets to protest rising pollution levels in their lands.
The farmers have been repeatedly complaining to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) about the effluents from nearly 50 small and big sari dyeing and printing firms in the town contaminating underground water and causing irreparable damage to their crops during the past three years.

The farmers had warned the owners of the firms a month ago that they would launch an agitation if the effluents continued to flow into their farmlands, said an official inspecting the industrial units with a team of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) officials, which arrived in the town in the afternoon.

The GPCB are holding talks with the owners of the firms to find their methods of disposing effluents. A number of owners of the process houses have been fined during the past three years but the violations continue unabated, the official told IANS.

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