‘Unregulated discharge of sewage polluting sea near Ramanathaswamy temple’

A three-member advocate commission constituted by the Madras High Court Bench here to inspect the state of affairs of the holy ‘theertham’ sites at the Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram has submitted an interim report indicating that the discharge of sewage from public toilets and commercial complexes into the sea near the temple has polluted ‘Agni Theertham’ where hundreds of devotees take holy dip every day.

“The water in the ‘Agni Theertham’ is not clean and hygienic, polluted with sewage and garbage, rendering it unfit for any human being to take a holy dip. The ‘Agni Theertham’ is not even conducive and hygienic for the devotees to drench their legs and sprinkle water on their heads,” stated advocate commissioners S.S. Sundar, N. Krishnaveni and S. Srinivasa Raghavan in their report submitted before a Division Bench comprising Justices R. Sudhakar and S. Vaidyanathan.

According to the advocate commissioners, raw sewage from public toilets near the temple is being let directly into the sea near the ‘Agni Theertham.’ Besides, a sewage treatment plant, which treats sewage from the nearby lodges, hotels and shops, also discharges the treated sewage into the sea near the ‘Agni Theertham.’

A sophisticated sewage treatment plant should be established farther from the temple to prevent pollution of the holy ‘theertham,’ they suggested.

The advocate commissioners added that discarded clothing, garbage and debris were not properly cleared every day.

After inspecting the 22 ‘theertham’ sites in the temple, the advocate commissioners submitted that water remained stagnant in most of the ‘theertham’ sites, leading to stench.

The Judges directed the advocate commission to conduct an inspection again and submit a report on improving the conditions in the areas surrounding the temple.

The judges constituted the advocate commission while hearing the public interest litigation by M. Vennila, an advocate, to maintain the sanctity of the temple.