‘Rs.18 lakh for starting rice cultivation in Vellayani area’

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor has said that politics should be kept away from the initiatives to conserve the Vellayani lake and all should work together to complete the proposed conservation project in a time-bound manner

He was speaking at a discussion on conservation and management of the Vellayani lake organised jointly by the Department of Environment and Climate Change and the Bhoomithra Sena Club of Mahatma Gandhi College here on Tuesday.

The Vellayani lake, which is the second largest freshwater lake after the Sasthamcotta lake, was now in dire need of conservation as encroachment over the years had shrunk the lake’s boundary. The remaining water spread was facing threat owing to pollution, mainly due to dumping of waste and release of sewage. Illegal sand-mining too had become rampant in the area, he said.

Now that the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management had come out with its recommendation to conserve the lake, authorities concerned should put their act together so that the work could be completed within a time-frame, he said.

“Politics should not come in the way of conserving the lake,” he said. Promising all possible assistance to the venture, the Union Minister said he would brief the Chief Minister about the project.

District panchayat president Ansajitha Ressal said encroachment was still going on and people had built boundary walls in the encroached area. The civic body had set aside Rs.18 lakh for starting rice cultivation in the area, she added. Jameela Prakasam, MLA, said umpteen discussions and seminars were held on the subject but nothing concrete had happened on the ground. The Kalliyoor and Venganoor panchayats had conducted aerial mapping of the area. The data available with the civic bodies could be used to demarcate the lake’s boundary, she said.