Staff Reporter

`Rs.11.92 crores remain unutilised for the past three years'

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Pampa Parirakshana Samiti (PPS) has urged Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran to take effective steps to utilise the Central fund allotted for implementing various pollution abatement schemes in the Pampa as part of the proposed Pampa Action Plan (PAP).

In a memorandum submitted to the Minister, PPS general secretary N.K. Sukumaran Nair has alleged that the funds amounting to Rs.11.92 crores, allotted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for implementing the first phase of the proposed action plan, had almost been lapsed allegedly owing to the indifference on the part of the State Government as well as the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) in its proper utilisation in a phased manner.

Mr. Nair said the Pampa was the first river system from Kerala to be included in the National River Conservation Project (NRCP).

Administrative sanction

The Union Ministry had accorded administrative sanction for the first phase of the project comprising 11 schemes to be implemented in Sabarimala and on the foothills way back in 2003.

According to Mr. Nair, the funds constitute the 70 per cent Central share of the estimated cost of the first phase of the PAP, on May 3, 2003, for implementing the schemes within a time-frame.

The State Government had entrusted the TDB for implementing seven of the 11 PAP schemes in Sabarimala while the State Water Resources Department was supposed to carry out the remaining four schemes in Pampa.

He said that the Union Ministry had cleared the funds, overlooking the prevailing norms, in view of the gravity of the pollution at a major pilgrim centre such as Sabarimala, despite the fact that the National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD) was supposed to clear the funds only after getting the detailed project report with firmed-up cost estimate of various sub-components.

Ironically, neither the TDB nor the State had submitted the same before the NRCD as yet for reasons best known to them, Mr. Nair alleged.

``This is nothing but criminal negligence on the part of the implementing agency. Lack of political will on the part of the State Government was what made the PAP still a non-starter,'' the PPS leader alleged.