C.P. Mohammed, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Environment, has said that the panel will recommend to the State government to order an inquiry into the misuse of huge sums from the river management fund in most districts in the State.

He told The Hindu here on Thursday that most districts had not furnished the full details of the utilisation of the fund. A scrutiny of the available data showed corruption and misuse.

He said the committee had directed the District Collectors to furnish the details of the amounts collected for the fund and spent. In most cases, the spending was for raids on illegal sand-mining from the rivers and afforestation on the river banks, though no evidence of it could be seen anywhere. Prima facie, these claims were made only to take away huge amounts from the fund.

He said an exclusive sitting of the committee would be held in Pattambi next week to discuss the destruction faced by the Bharathapuzha, the lifeline of the people of Palakkad, Thrissur and Malappuram districts.

He said the “sand mafia” had become uncontrollable and had destroyed the river to a great extent. Successive governments had failed to curb the illegal sand-mining and encroachments on the river course and banks.

He said the committee had received petitions from the Bharathapuzha Protection Committee, Jana Jagratha and other organisations at its sitting at the Palakkad Collectorate on Monday, demanding the setting up of the Bharathapuzha Development Authority.

The committee would recommend to the government that the authority be formed. It wanted the government to prepare an action plan for the protection of the river and implement it with the Central fund available for river protection.

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