Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution of Thirumanimuthar River, Salem, Tamil Nadu, 04/02/2019

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of V. Manickam Vs The Secretary, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board & Others dated 04/02/2019.


  • The issue relates to pollution of Thirumanimuthar River, on account of discharge of effluents by the industries as well as municipal sewage. According to the applicant, Thirumanimuthar River passes through its channels across the villages like Morangam. It gets polluted due to the discharge of waste and drainage water released from the Municipal areas and other factory wastes.
  • The application was filed on 28.01.2015. Notice was issued on 23.03.2015.
  • The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) filed reply dated 28.10.2016 stating that there are 90 dyeing and bleaching units which have obtained consent of the Board and are functioning in Salem Municipal Corporation areas.
  • The Madras High Court, vide the order dated 17.06.2009 in W.P. No. 10599/2009, directed closure of 155 unauthorized dyeing and bleaching units in Salem District.
  • After electricity was disconnected, the units started manual dyeing of cotton/polyester/silk yarn, illegally using oil engine or mobile DG sets. Effluent is discharged into nearby drainage system which finally reaches the nearby water bodies. 


  • NGT observes that water pollution is being permitted by the industrial units as well as by the Salem Municipal Corporation for which no adequate punitive action appears to have been taken by way of prosecution or recovery of compensation for the damage to the environment. Though it is stated that by October, 2018 the STPs were to be operational, the same are still not operational.
  • Tribunal directs a a joint inspection to ascertain present status by a team comprising of representatives of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and TNPCB.
  • Pending further consideration, Salem Municipal Corporation is held liable to deposit interim compensation of Rs. 25 lacs with the CPCB within one month. The Corporation would also also furnish a Performance Guarantee in the sum of Rs. 50 lacs to the effect that the untreated effluents will not be discharged and necessary steps to prevent such discharge will be taken positively within three month failing which the amount of Performance Guarantee will be forfeited.