The clean-up of Rayarom River at Alakkode by Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to

remove the large quantities of discarded pesticides dumped into it was completed on Tuesday. The scientist from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who tested the quality of water reported that there was no toxicity in the river water.

The last phase of the search for the remaining pesticide bottles and packets was completed on Tuesday afternoon. The potency of the pesticides materials removed from the river has been defused.

District Collector V.K. Balakrishnan told reporters here on Tuesday that A.K. Gupta, scientist at the Gwalior-based nuclear, biological

and chemical emergency wing of the DRDO who had collected water samples from different spots in the river and examined them, had

reported that there was no toxicity in the river water. On the basis of the report, instructions have been given to resume pumping of water from the river for drinking water supply, the Collector said.

The Navy and NDRF personnel had searched for pesticides in the river along a 15-km stretch downstream, he said.

The Collector said the pesticides removed from the river during the past few days would be incinerated at Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. at Udyogamandal in Aluva. The proposal to offer financial aid to eight local youth who had to undergo medical treatment for health problems after their efforts to remove the pesticides a day after they were dumped into the river on August 1 has been submitted to the government on the basis of the recommendations of people's representatives.

The Collector said that all political party leaders and people's representatives had expressed satisfaction at the timely intervention of the district administration to address the situation and respond to it. The meeting of the crisis management group and the district disaster management group also equipped the administration to coordinate the efforts by all departments concerned, he said. The Collector also recalled the intervention of Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran to send the Navy divers and the DRDO scientist and the NDRF personnel to Alakkode. Fire and Rescue Service personnel and the police also did a commendable job at Alakkode, he said.

Announcing that there would be strong action against all those who were involved in dumping the pesticides into the river, Mr. Balakrishnan said the Principal Agricultural Officer had been directed to check for expiry date-ended pesticides kept in pesticide stores and depots in the district. He said a district-level campaign for protection of rivers would be launched in the Alakkode panchayat in the coming days.

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