The State government has accorded permission to the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) to conduct studies for a Rs.500-crore pollution abatement project.

The project will draw up measures to protect the Karamana and Killi rivers and the Karimadom tank in the State capital apart from studying the possible environmental impact of the project.

The government's sanction for preliminary payment of 25 per cent of the total fee for the study as mobilisation advance is expected to arrive soon, after which, from the date of the work order, RITES will be given five months to complete its mission.

A government order in this connection was issued on Saturday.

The project for pollution abatement in the two rivers, protection of which are crucial in various ways to the city, will then be submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for approval.

The approach

The project aims at a comprehensive approach to clean up the rivers, banks, and sustain the efforts by social auditing and stringent penalisation of anyone attempting to pollute the river later.

The project will include public awareness programmes, parks and afforestation, solid waste management plants, sewage treatment plants, sewer line/water line rearrangements, storm water drains, transit camps, rest rooms and utility rooms, public latrines, bathing ghats, dhobi ghats, fencing and waste dumping arrangements, managing river groynes, submerged cross bars and check-dams, and flushing out contamination.

A biomedical waste management facility, environment quality control and monitoring laboratories, and a modern slaughterhouse too form part of the intended activities under the project, according to G. Anil Kumar, Superintending Engineer (Irrigation).

A pilot project is already in motion, with the objective being clearing clogged portions of the rivers prior to the monsoon in order to prevent flooding in the city. De-silting work is in progress in the Killi river, starting from the Jagathy bridge to Karakkadu, Mr. Anil Kumar said. A large portion of silt blocking the free flow of water through the river has been already removed.

The Rs.27-crore pilot project, approved by the State Cabinet in January after the city was flooded in December, aimed at protection and re-construction of bunds and sidewalls of the Killi river, removal of sandbanks, garbage, and vegetation in the Killi and Karamana rivers, and clearing of the Vanchiyoor, Ulloor, Amayizhanjan, Thekkanakkara, and Pattom streams and TS Canal of all blocks.

Keywords: water pollution