Chennai, March 25 (IANS) In an attempt to draw attention to the plight of around 72,000 workers in dyeing units closed by a Madras High Court order, around 200 people including workers and factory owners are planning to contest the Tiruppur North constituency as independent candidates for the April 13 Tamil Nadu assembly polls.
“It is more than 60 days since the Madras High Court ordered the closure of dyeing units in Tiruppur on the grounds of pollution thus affecting the livelihood of around 72,000 workers. In order to draw the attention of the nation and the state’s political parties, we decided to have such a protest,” Tirupur Industrial Protection Committee coordinator R. Annadurai told IANS over phone from Tirupur, 380 km from Chennai.
Till Friday, 137 such nominations had been filed in the constituency that is set to see a direct contest between the DMK and the AIADMK.
“Initially we thought of mobilising around 1,000 nominations, but decided to scale it down to 200 as we have to find proposers for the candidates,” Annadurai said.
He said the filing of nominations was easy during the first two days but now officials have become stricter.
“Subsequently the officials started asking ‘No Dues’ certificates from income tax and property tax authorities. They also wanted to the candidates to submit their savings bank pass books,” Annadurai said.
He wondered whether these documents are really needed while filing nominations or the Election Commission is trying to fend off independent candidates.
According to Annadurai, the ‘independent candidates’ would withdraw their nominations by the deadline for doing so if the major parties and the government give them an assurance that they would take up the dyeing unit closure issue in the high court.
“The dyeing units want the government to run the effluent treatment plants and they are willing to pay the necessary charges,” he said.
According to him, the industry collectively invested around Rs.800 crore on effluent treatment system that initially promised zero discharge but it failed.
“The technology failed and it is a sunk investment for us,” he said.
The Madras High Court ordered the closure of dyeing units on a petition filed by a farmers’ association complaining about pollution of Noyal river water and their farm lands due to the effluent discharged from the dyeing units.