The Union government has decided to protect one major river in the State on the lines of the Ganga Action Plan.

The State government has been asked to submit a proposal to conserve one major river in the State, such as Periyar, which has been badly polluted, said K.V. Thomas, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution.

Talking on the sidelines of a national seminar on food safety, organised by the Bureau of Indian Standards here on Monday, Prof. Thomas said the issue of drinking water pollution should be addressed at the source of the pollution of the water body. Water bodies such as the Periyar are polluted by the dumping of municipal waste and even refuse from abattoirs. The issue of pollution of rivers was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister recently, he said.

It will not be possible for the Centre to support the cleaning up of all the rivers in the State. However, the State government can come up with a proposal for any one river for which Central support can be ensured, he said. The Ganga Action Plan was one such Centrally-supported scheme launched for reducing the pollution load of the river. The pollution and quality standards of drinking water in the State can be addressed effectively only by regulating the pollution of water bodies, he said.

Prof. Thomas earlier released the Indian standards on food retail management, food safety management-requirements for good hygiene practice and good manufacturing practices for organisations in food processing.

Inaugurating the meeting, Mr. Thomas said the globalisation of food trade offered the consumers wide choices of high quality food stuff. The global food trade has also provided opportunities to earn foreign exchange through exports of food stuff.

The formulation of food safety standards is aimed at promoting public health and prevention of adulteration of food. The Bureau of Indian Standards has formulated around 1,000 Indian standards in the area of food products and food safety. The recently formulated standards on Good Manufacturing Practices, Good Hygienic Practices and Food Retail Management (FRM) are significant steps towards food safety, he said.

Tony Chammany, Kochi Mayor, presided over the function. Alinda Chandra, Director-General, Bureau of Indian Standards, spoke.

More In: Kochi | Kerala | National