Kochi

‘Maintain water flow in the Periyar’

Irrigation dept asked to take steps to stop release of effluents by companies

The District Collector has given specific instructions to the Irrigation Department to maintain water flow in the Periyar and clear any low vegetation on its banks to make it easier to spot release of effluents by companies in Eloor industrial area.

These are the “two immediate directions” given based on Monday’s meeting with officials of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) and the Aluva Irrigation Department, said Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla.

“One of the things mentioned by the PCB is that when water level goes down, the oxygen levels also go down and this affects many aquatic beings,” said Mr. Safirulla.

Therefore, the Irrigation Department — which is responsible for the operation of the regulator-cum-bridges in the area and has authority over the river in that stretch — has been directed to maintain water flow at a particular level on the river stretch, he said.

NGT order

According to a past order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), it is required that water flow be maintained in the river during the lean period, said Sreelekshmi P.B., environmental engineer at Eloor. The flow of the river is extremely important, she added.

“This becomes an issue in most rivers during the summer when water levels dip. But in the case of the Periyar and especially on the Eloor-Edayar stretch, obstructions such as regulator-cum-bridges aggravate the problem,” she said.

With the PCB’s claims that the presence of grass and other dense vegetation on the sides of the Periyar within the compounds of the industrial companies makes it difficult to see if they are releasing effluents into the river, the Collector has also given directions that the Irrigation Department clear such vegetation immediately.

‘Holistic study needed’

While these works will be completed over the next one month, other measures would require a detailed study, said Mr. Safirulla. This would be taken up towards the end of April.

“It needs a holistic study, and action has to be coordinated among various agencies,” he added.

The PCB, in a letter addressed to the Irrigation Department and shared with the Collector, has also requested that company boundaries be marked and maintained accordingly. Additionally, if the Irrigation Department takes all the necessary actions to check if there are any illegal industrial effluent pipes draining waste underwater into the river, defaulters could be pulled up by the PCB, said Ms. Sreelekshmi.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 9:57:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/maintain-water-flow-in-the-periyar/article26594819.ece

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