Dyeing units rue closure as flats continue to pollute

Micro entrepreneurs around Bellandur add colour to Mysore silk saris

Dyeing units rue closure as flats continue to pollute

On a little plot near BTM Layout, R Ramachandra runs a cluttered ‘factory’ that threatens the existence of Bellandur lake almost 12 km away.

A narrow lane in Krishnappa Garden, in this southern Bengaluru neighbourhood, houses about 17 dyeing units, on plots measuring 1,200 sq ft or less. The authorities refer to them as ‘factories.’

The world didn’t know about the units till the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) filed an affidavit before the National Green Tribunal, listing them among 76 polluters who would have to suspend operations.
The units are now closed, and can reopen only after they comply with pollution control norms and get clearance certificates.

With the Bellandur lake frothing and catching fire, it caught the attention of the National Green Tribunal, which cracked the whip on the pollution control authorities.

Total polluters 488
The board then identified 488 industries upstream, of which 76 were found to be polluters. Dyeing industries dominate the list. Seventeen are in Krishnappa Garden, and the rest spread across Bommanahalli, Bilekahalli, Rupena Agrahara, Begur, Hongasandra and Madiwala.

For about three decades, these dyeing units have been adding colour to the famed Mysore silk saris. Ramachandra started his factory with a traditional boiler heated with firewood. He would let out the untreated residue of the dyes into the sewerage line. It coursed through the stormwater drain and eventually flowed into the Bellandur lake.

“We had been doing it for years but the recent frothing has put us in trouble,” Ramachandra told DH.
The board directed him to set up an effluent treatment plant to be able to reopen his unit. Ramachandra has now approached the Central Silk Board (CSB) for assistance. “The treatment unit costs Rs 4.5 lakh, which is beyond me. I have to take a loan from the Silk Board,” he said.

Industry broken
Krishna of Krishna Dyeing Industry is broken. “I had set up my unit two years ago by investing Rs 12 lakh. I haven’t been able to repay my loans,” he told DH.

He sees dark days ahead. “I am not in a position to afford an effluent treatment plant,” he rued.
Many unit owners say they have been targeted wrongly, and the apartments, which they say are bigger offenders, have got off lightly.

Where is the accountability?
“Our units have been around for three decades but there was no frothing at Bellandur lake. Why did it start only when many apartments came up? Where is their accountability?” said a factory owner.

Big fish in the real estate business have got away while small people have been targeted, he said.
DH News Service

Who is facing action?
Factories upstream – 488
Number of polluting industries – 76
Number of units ordered to shut operations – 36
Dyeing and printing units facing closure – 34

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