Chandy lays stress on rainwater harvesting

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has directed officials to ensure that rainwater harvesting pits are made compulsory for all new constructions in the capital district, apart from initiating digging of rain pits under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Addressing a drought review meeting at the District Collectorate here on Monday, Mr. Chandy said the maximum sum District Collectors could sanction for drought relief projects would be raised to Rs.20 lakh from the existing Rs.5 lakh.

He said Thiruvananthapuram had been sanctioned Rs.14.48 crore for drought relief.

The Kerala Water Authority was asked to prepare a list of all water supply projects that could be completed within a year, and for review of these projects by a team headed by a minister.

Mr. Chandy suggested more check-dams and urgent measures for protection of ponds and quarries as water sources.

Synchronise timings

The Kerala State Electricity Board, he said, would be asked to synchronise the power-cut timings for pump houses and water treatment plants.

Issuing directions to augment the number of water supply tankers, Mr. Chandy the Vellayani Lake renovation and protection project had to be taken up without delay.

Officials said steps had been initiated to clean 151 ponds and construct check-dams in the district at a total cost of Rs.9 crore.

Water shortage in 55 panchayats would be addressed through extension of pipelines.

KWA officials said various long-pending water supply schemes, including the Kallara-Pangode and Panavoor-Pullampara-Vembayam schemes, had been completed with full-fledged water supply to begin soon.

Meeting on Tuesday

A meeting to discuss the situation across the State and issue special orders would be convened on Tuesday, Mr. Chandy said.

Ministers P.J. Joseph, Adoor Prakash, V.S. Sivakumar, and K.P. Mohanan; Deputy Speaker N. Sakthan; Jameela Prakasham, A.T. George, Koliakode N. Krishnan Nair, R. Selvaraj, B. Satyan, Varkala Kahar, Palode Ravi, M.A. Vahid, and V. Sasi, MLAs; district panchayat president Remani P. Nair; Revenue Secretary G. Kamala Vardhana Rao; KWA Managing Director Ashok Kumar Singh; KWA Chief Engineer (South) P. Sreekumaran Nair; District Collector K.N. Satheesh and other senior officials were present.