Work to begin after experts estimate pesticide level

A 28-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team reached Alakkode here on Saturday to help remove pesticides illegally dumped in the Rayarom river.

The team has arrived in response to interventions by the authorities to recover the huge quantities of pesticides dumped on August 1. The personnel, accompanied by revenue officials, visited Rayarom and Neduvode.

They will start work only after experts from the Gwalior-based nuclear, biological and chemical emergency wing of the Defence Ministry, expected here on Sunday, examine the pollution level.

However, the team, assisted by the police, Fire and Rescue Service personnel and selected local people, would form four groups to search for pesticide bottles and packets along the river bank from Rayarom to Chapparappadavu from Sunday. If required, NDRF divers would scour the riverbed.

The pesticides dumped are from an old pesticide shop which a person took on rent recently. Six people have been arrested in this connection. Eight persons who volunteered to remove the pesticides and entered the waters took ill, causing a scare.

A meeting of K.C. Joseph, M. Prakashan and A.P. Abdullakutty, MLAs, convened by District Collector V.K. Balakrishnan on Friday decided to sue for damages against the shop licensee and other accused.

The meeting took a decision to recommend to the State government financial assistance to those who took ill.

The local people, who formed an action committee to pressure the authorities to take steps to remove the pesticides, will hold a mass convention at Rayarom on Sunday to mobilise public opinion against such incidents.