Says government will be approached to declare the district drought-hit and for more assistance for relief measures

Kerala Minister for Excise and Ports K. Babu has urged local bodies and various government departments to be prepared to face the challenges of an imminent drought awaiting the district.

He said the government will be approached to declare the district drought-hit and for more assistance for relief measures.

Mr. Babu was addressing a meeting of officials and people’s representatives in Kochi on Friday to discuss the emergency measures to be undertaken to resolve the drinking water scarcity in the district.

The minister directed to extend the network of pipelines of various drinking water projects to areas vulnerable to drought. The number of pumping shifts will be increased. Steps will be taken to replace flawed motors and to keep ready additional motors to meet emergencies. Funds for this will be released from the collector’s drought relief fund.

Mr. Babu directed officials to submit drinking water projects that can be implemented both on a long-term- and short-term basis. Old and leaking pipes should be replaced. Pump sets to be installed in connection with minor irrigation projects should be commissioned within March.

The minister warned that drinking water scarcity will become acute by January instead of March. Pumping was interrupted owing to lack of water flow in Muvattupuzha river and Periyar. Water level at Periyar is being maintained by generating more power at Edamalayar and releasing more water. Mr. Babu said that some respite will be possible only if advance measures are taken.

Delays in projects should be removed and contract works should be completed in a time-bound manner.

District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareeth said the pilot project for purifying water in abandoned stone quarries and distributing it as drinking water will be implemented at Ambalappara in Thrikkakara. The project facilitates purification of water at Rs. 10 per liter. Tripunithura municipal chairman said that the project should be implemented at the Pedikkatt quarry in the municipal limits.

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