Ecologists fear growth of polluting industry

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ECOLOGISTS and large-scale industrialists fear India's liberalisation policies will lead to a runaway growth in the dyestuffs sector, which will cause unimaginable damage to the environment. They say the Indian small-scale dyestuffs industry is a prime example of a dirty industry. K R V Subrahmanian, managing director of Colour Chem, a large paints company, said in an interview to The Economic Times, "Large Indian companies by and large meet pollution standards. But many others, who contribute 40-50 per cent of our exports, do not."

Ajay K Kadakia, president of the Dyestuffs Manufacturers' Association of India, says multinational corporations are discontinuing manufacture of some hazardous products and these are being taken up by small-scale industries in India and other countries like China, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Approximately 40 per cent of the total dyestuff production of 54,600 tonnes in 1991-92 came from 900 units in the small-scale sector. The government expects dyestuff production to increase from 40,065 tonnes in 1989-90 to 61,110 tonnes in 1999-2000. Dye intermediaries production is expected to go up from 109,698 tonnes to 1,68,862 tonnes. Exports are expected to rise by 60 per cent by 2000.

Kadakia says while most small-scale industrial units have primary effluent treatment facilities, secondary effluent treatment facilities can be installed only by large units. Besides, according to a Financial Express report, small-scale units are short of funds and cannot invest in pollution control.