Dyeing units face HC death warrant

The traditional dyeing and printing industry in Jetpur is now fighting for survival in the wake of a total closure notice from the Gujarat High Court.

One of the oldest in the region, the dyeing industry contributes a major share to Saurashtra's economy. The industry has been given 16 days to demolish the illegal washing ghats and find an alternative or face complete shutdown.

According to the HC notice of July 9, all units with illegal washing ghats will face closure even if they have their own treatment plants. The order came in response to a plea by Govind Dobariya, a resident of Devdi, one of the villages affected by water pollution as a result of effluent discharge by the dyeing units.

The Gujarat Pollution Control Board had on July 9, as per the directions of the High Court, issued a public notice to demolish illegal ghats used for washing freshly dyed clothes before July 27 or face completely shutdown. The industry comprises over 1,140 units and employs over 20,000 workers. Its last annual export figures was Rs 1,200 crore.

According to a recent GPCB survey, the effluent discharge from the units have polluted as many as 10 small rivers in the vicinity.

The Dyeing and Printing Association held a meeting on Monday and decided to demolish 100 ghats, but members said that would translate into shutdown of more than 80 per cent of the dyeing units.

Dyeing and Printing Association president Raju Patel said: "There are over 1,140 units. Officially, 92 units have legal ghats with a treatment plant attached. There are some 100 illegal ghats on which at least some 840 units depends. The association has ordered to demolish all illegal ghats. The association has admitted that it has no alternative for smaller units, which depend on illegal ghats."

Former association president V Mansukh said, "We are in the process to find an alternative to manage production in the absence of ghats."

The association plans to approach the HC for some breather. "We will appeal in the HC to give us some time to find an alternative as demolition of the washing ghats will affect as many as 840 units," said Patel.

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