Fr. Dr. Johnson P. Mathew, general secretary, Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association, Thiruvalla, writes:
Two reports in The Hindu on the Maramon Convention `PCB flays norms violation' on February 21, 2007 [published in some parts of Kerala] and `PCB bid to protect Pampa' on March 12 were misleading and not factual. The Pathanamthitta District Collector coordinates the activities [with regard to the Convention] of all departments concerned and had called three meetings, the last one in the presence of the Water Resources Minister, and given directives to the Health Department to maintain cleanliness on the Pampa riverbed. A team of Health Department workers cleaned the sand bed and `pandal' every day.
The two environmental engineers [mentioned in the reports] had not associated themselves with the Collectorate or the organisers before, during or after the Convention. However, they took photographs of the sand bed on 19th February, the day after the last session of the Convention, and before cleaning the sand bed. The `pit latrine' in the photo is actually urinals for women and the second photo shows demolition of the temporary sheds. Permanent latrines on the riverbank, on our land, are already there. There was no rain on the last day (Sunday 18th February) as stated in the report. There was a drizzle on 17th night. The engineers' report is exaggerated and seems to be motivated to belittle the efforts of other departments and organisers.
The Maramon Convention sand bed is kept clean and hygienic. Their description of the sand bed "as municipal waste dumping yard," `war-ravaged' is unbecoming of responsible officials of the Pollution Control Board.
The Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association will not only preach but also practise environmental cleanliness.