Legislative Committee on Environment, chaired by Mr Rajaji Mathew Thomas, has stressed the need for initiating urgent measures to effectively address the pollution problems facing the population residing on either banks of river Pampa in the downstream reaches of Sabarimala.

Mr Mathew, accompanied by the committee members, K.V.Abdul Khader, Mons Joseph, M.Hamsa and K.P.Mohanan, was addressing a press conference after holding a sitting at Devaswom Guest House at Pampa on the foothills of Sabarimala on Wednesday afternoon.

The committee maintained that the pollution of Pampa was alarming due to flow of filth into the river during the annual pilgrim season when as many as double he population of the State visit the pilgrim centre in a time span of two months. It was of the view that the tens of thousands of families residing in the downstream reaches of the river were left to bear with the hazarduous pollution menace owing to lack of pollution abatement schemes.

The Assembly panel also maintained that it was a grave flaw that the State could not implement the much sought-after Pampa Action Plan in the stipulated time frame.

Mr Mathew said addressing the problems facing the scores of pilgrims at Sabarimala should be given top priority.

The committee said it would recommend the Government to conduct a study on the use of Ferric Chloride in the direct river treatment system in Njunangar stream carrying filth from the Sannidhanam area into river Pampa.

The Assembly panel was of the view that Travancore Devaswom Board should stop collecting user-fee at various toilet blocks at Nilackal and Pampa in the larger interests of maintaining good clealiness and hygiene at these base camps. Open defecation has been a major problem facing both Nilackal and Pampa and punitive steps like imposition of fine should be introduced to check it.

The committee also stressed the need for effective enforcement of plastic ban and begging at the pilgrim centre and its base camps.

Mr Mathew said TDB had miserably failed to implement various assurances given to the Assembly panel during a similar sitting held at Sabarimala a year ago.

The committee also visited the river banks, toilet blocks at Nilackal and Pampa, parking grounds, etc, earlier.

The panel will visit various points at the Sannidhanam, before holding another sitting at the Devaswom office Complex there on Thursday.

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