The Pampa River Basin Authority and Euroconsult Mott MacDonald, an environment consultant of the European Union appointed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for conducting a pilot study on the pollution problem on the Pampa river basin, organised a stakeholder consultation session at Chengannur on Monday.

Addressing the session, Annemieke Alberts, Action Plan Support Facility (APSF) team leader attached to the European consultant, and Nick Ahrensberg, its technical advisor, said the organisation was conducting a pilot study on Pampa river basin.

Road map

The consultants will prepare a road map on the Pampa on the basis of its studies as well as consultations made with stakeholders and submit it to the National River Conservation Department (NRCD) attached to Union Ministry in October. Ms. Alberts said bringing together of key stakeholders in the water sector to identify issues pertaining to water resources issues in the Pampa river basin and enhance stakeholder involvement in the process towards proper water resources management were the main objectives of the consultation.

She said a few workshops, exploring the water management issues, had already been organised in connection with the pilot study. The workshops focused on the constraints of managing the issues and identifying solutions, she added. Mathew Koshy Punnackadu, member of Pampa River Basin Authority, made a presentation on the environment-friendly vetiver cultivation for effective river bank protection.

Participating in the interactive session held later in the afternoon, environmentalists and social activists alleged that the organisers of the consultation had failed to ensure participation of the real stakeholders — the residents of the river basin — at Monday's meeting, making the entire exercise a farce.

V.A. Varghese, environmentalist and member of All-Kerala River Protection Council, said the consultants should have focused on collecting details of the pollution problem from the residents. Though the European team claimed that they had conducted workshops, a cross section of the local people had not participated in them too, he alleged.

‘Secret session'

Ajithprasad Thalayar, environmentalist and president of Varattar Protection Council, alleged that the news on the consultation was kept secret, denying access to the real stakeholders. “There is every reason to suspect that the pilot study is yet another channel for fund diversion in the name of river conservation.”

Keywords: river pollution