Special Correspondent

Aim is to prevent exploitation of groundwater by private parties

Says amendment will be piloted in the Assembly this year itself

Report awaited for paying compensation for those affected by the Coca-Cola company

Thiruvananthapuram: The government is planning to amend the Kerala Groundwater Regulation Act, 2002, to prevent the exploitation of groundwater by private parties, Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Premachandran said that the existing Act did not have the provisions to take stringent action against those exploiting the groundwater resources. “The amendment will be piloted in the Assembly this year itself.”

On getting the report of a committee appointed to study the loss incurred by the farmers and local residents in Plachimada due to the functioning of the Coca-Cola company, the government would give compensation to the affected persons. Regarding the Pepsi plant at Pudussery, Mr.Premachandran said that the government would soon finalise the Assembly committee’s report on the extent of groundwater exploitation by the company.

Cases registered

As many as 200 cases had been registered under the Kerala Water Supply and Sewerage Act, 1984, against the misuse of drinking water. Two cases had been chargesheeted. A sum of Rs.50 lakh had been levied as fine from the offenders. A people’s action plan would be launched for recharging groundwater.

The Minister said an expert committee which inspected the Mullaperiyar dam had recommended that the government conduct dam mapping using ‘remote operated camera’ or divers. It also recommended installing highly sensitive computer-operated seismograph on top of the dam. “The government of Tamil Nadu has been urged to implement the recommendations.”

Industries Minister Elamaram Karim said that packages were on the anvil to revive Hanveev and Hantex. The Balaramapuram Spinning Mill would be opened soon. Trial run was going on.

Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy said that a law would be enacted to keep a check on the functioning of private medical laboratories and scanning centres.

The government would also consider a proposal to permit cooperative societies and voluntary organisations to open laboratories and scanning centres at primary health centres and government hospitals.

Minister for Ports M.Vijayakumar said that the Cochin Shipyard had evinced interest to set up a ship repairing yard at Vizhinjam. If the project was to come up at Vizhinjam it was expected to bring primary capital investment worth Rs.800 to Rs.1,000 crore and if it was to come up at Poovar, the investment would be to the tune of Rs.1,500 to Rs.1,600 crore. “The government has sought a project report from the shipyard,” he said.