VELLORE: A little over 3,400 ducks that strayed under the Kommeswaram Palar bridge, near Ambur in Vellore district perished in quick succession after the birds consumed what is feared to be contaminated effluent water discharged from a nearby private tannery. Gopinath (32), a small-time worker and an resident of Aiyathammpattu village, with the idea of raising a ‘ducks poultry’ six months ago bought the small ducks from Alangayam and Gudiyattam villages and started rearing it from a small hut constructed for the purpose near the banks of Palar river. As part of his daily chores, he has been taking all the ducks out in the morning and herding them back to the hut by sunset. The ducks in the last months were active and were never affected by any disease. But on Wednesday evening, he was shocked to find that the ducks, which consumed the poisonous water, swooned one after another and died.
Gopinath said at first he did not know why the ducks were dying one after another but later suspected they had consumed the poisonous water discharged from a nearby private tannery. He said he went and checked the water that was found to be blue in colour, probably poisonous water. Some of the villagers who sympathized with Gopi’s plight said, that they had been complaining for quite a long time that the Palar water had become polluted due to the tanneries’ discharge. In spite of several requests, no steps were taken to divert the untreated effluents from tanneries being let into the river. On coming to know about the loss suffered by Gopi, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials including environmental officer visited the spot and took samples of the water and the sand.