A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday appointed P. Ramachandran, High Court lawyer, as advocate commissioner to study the waste management problems at Chottanikkara and offer a permanent solution.

The Bench comprising Justice T.R. Ramachandran Nair and Justice P.V. Ramakrishna Pillai also directed the Executive Engineer (Roads), Kochi, and Assistant Executive Engineer of the PWD, Mulanthuruthy, to open forthwith the drain which had been filled with soil and file a compliance report.

The court asked the PWD and the advocate commissioner to file their reports in a week.

The court also asked restaurant owners and hoteliers to ensure sewage and other wastes were not dumped into the drain. The Bench directed the PWD engineers to conduct a frequent inspection on-a-day-to-day basis of the drain.

The PWD has also been directed to file a comprehensive report suggesting a permanent solution to the problem.

It has been asked to set up a drain which would not cause any trouble to public health and pollute groundwater and nearby wells.

‘Urgent action needed’

The court was of the view that there should be some permanent solution as a large number of devotees visited the Chottanikkara temple. Urgent action was necessary on the part of authorities to solve the problem.

When the case came up for hearing, the government pleader and the counsel for Chottanikkara panchayat submitted that hoteliers and restaurant owners were emptying sewage and human waste into the drain.

The waste then entered nearby paddy fields and contaminated wells in the vicinity. So, the Revenue Divisional Officer’s order directing the closure of the drain was perfectly justified.

The Cochin Devaswom Board counsel pointed out that once its sewage treatment plant was set up; the waste generated from devaswom buildings could be taken care of.

The counsel for the panchayat said it was awaiting approval from the government to establish such a sewage treatment plant.

The directives were issued on a petition filed by Subash of Cherthala, a devotee. He sought a directive to the government to construct adequate number of sewers at Chottanikkara.

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