A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday suggested that no polluting and chemical industries be allowed to be constructed in the Edayar-Eloor areas.

The Division Bench of the Kerala High Court suggested that a permanent check-dam be built to prevent pollution of drinking water sources in the Periyar. The Bench directed the State government to express its views on these proposals.

The Bench, comprising Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair and Justice C.K. Abdul Rehim, issued the directive on a writ petition filed by the Eloor Malineekarana Virudha Samithi.

The court felt that the government should not permit the starting of new chemical or polluting industries at any place east of Eloor-Edayar areas. The court was of the opinion that the government should not even allow reopening of any closed polluting industries.

The Bench said that if a permanent check dam was constructed at Pathalam, it would prevent mixing of polluted water and salt water with the drinking water sources further east of Pathalam, even though such construction would be an expensive one.

Since the Periyar was connected to the backwaters, and in turn, to the Arabian Sea, the water level in the river was rather steady. In fact, during the high tide, there was a reverse thrust of water, with the polluted water and salt water reaching a higher level where pumping was done by the water authority for treating and supply of drinking water.

A temporary bund is constructed every year at Pathalam to prevent salt water from mixing with the water sources.

The petitioners sought a directive to implement the recommendations of the Health Study Committee appointed by the State government in 2007. According to the petitioner, the committee, among other things, had recommended a group insurance scheme of Rs.2 lakh for the people in the areas.

Insurance schemes for Rs.30,000 had been implemented till 2010.

The petitioner sought reintroduction of the scheme with an assured sum of Rs.2 lakh.

The other recommendations included rehabilitation of those affected by the pollution, initiation of stringent measures against industries and firms which violate pollution rules and regulations, constitution of ward level committees to indentify the violators, conduct of soil tests regularly, and organisation of regular medical camps for detecting diseases among the local people.

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