The total area of Karur District is 2893 sq.kms. There are four taluks, viz., Karur, Aravakurichi, Krishnarayapuram and Kulithalai and comprising eight unions. Among these eight we concentrate in five unions, viz., Karur, Aravakurichi, Paramathi, Kulitalai and Thogamalai. The total population of the district is 8,53,912, of these male population is 4,27,218 and the female population is 4,26,694.
The rivers Cauvery and Amaravathi flow on either side of the city. The river Amaravathi flows 16 kms from west and 6 kms east of Karur district. The river Amaravathi joins the river Cauvery in Nedoor village. Though the area was fertile in the past because of the toxic wastes that come out of the industries during these present years pollute the rivers which instead of doing good does havoc. Though two rivers are flowing through the district, Aravakurichi and Paramathi unions still remains dry due to failure of monsoons causing vast agricultural land barren. As a result poverty has become main problem driving many people to urban for employment and security.
There are four main sects or castes people live in the district, viz., Gounders, Naickers, Chettiars and the scheduled castes i.e., dalits. Karur district has the highest dalit population in Tamilnadu. Besides the above said main castes there are also many sub castes. Caste clashes are common as the first three castes are the dominant one having industries, agricultural and all concerned wealth and resources. The scheduled castes are still remain vulnerable working class depend only on their labour.
Economical and living Condition of the People
Education and information on human rights have not reached most of these people for poverty and livelihood drive them towards mere existence than pondering for improvements and pay attention to education. The number of working persons is also higher here than any other most places as there are numerous industries and textiles. Hence the number of educated is handful.
Textile industries started in the year 1976. Earlier to this there weren’t any industries except agriculture. In 1980 it gathered momentum and now the textile export alone is around 2000 crores.
The main occupation of the people in this district is working in handloom textiles. Polished Gems Mosquitoes’ net, Bed sheets, Sarees, Towels, Dhotis, Napkins, Kerchiefs, and etc., are widely produced and exported. There are 300 direct exporters, and 2000 textiles cater to the local market. There are 3463 gem cutting units are present in Karur District alone. There are 67 spinning mills, 1220 dyeing units, 750 mosquito net manufacturing units and nearly 150 bus body building industries.
Problems at Working Places
It is in dyeing units, mosquitoes net industries, Textile mills, Gem cutting and bus body building industries, the children are employed as workers. Here the children are employed as domestic servants, polishing boys, errand boys, housemaids, baby sitters to do household chores. The children working in the bleaching and dyeing factories encounter hazardous operations and have to handle dangerous chemicals. The chemicals used in this industries are caustic soda, soda ash, bleaching powder, hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, dyes, vats, benzine, sodium nitrate and 60 more chemicals, most of them deterrent to the health of human beings. It is very dangerous for the children to work in gem cutting units, because it spoils their health and bruises the hands.
Children at risk
We have also witnessed children going astray because of the money they earn at their early age and they become master of themselves. This leads them to get accustomed with practice of bad habits such as smoking, drinking and taking drugs. Many children behave as matured persons and have inclination to disobey their parents or run away from home for they think they are no more dependable to anyone.
All over the world the respective governments have recommended the use of ozone free dye, stuffs, but in Karur the ozone stuffs are used and the physical, biological, chemical and toxic wastes are very much on the scene, which is very dangerous situation. These wastes affect the land area to the radius of 20kms. Karur city is surrounded by many villages. Children and women come from these villages to work in the industries situated in Karur. Women work in large numbers.
The problems Women face
Women also face many problems in the industries. Young girl children who are engaged in industries are often meet sexual harassment either from their co-workers or owners of the factories. There are street children who are thrown out of their houses as soon as they were born for no fault of theirs. Working children is another aspect in this textiles city. There are very many working children in aspects of production and processing.