Kochi

Panel seeks ATR on city’s eco issues

Ashwani Kumar, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, during an interaction with The Hindu in Kochi on Wednesday.— Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Ashwani Kumar, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, during an interaction with The Hindu in Kochi on Wednesday.— Photo: Thulasi Kakkat  

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‘Any failure to initiate action as suggested by the panel will amount to contempt of Parliament’

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests has sought Action Taken Reports (ATR) from the State on pollution of Vembanad lake, processing of solid waste at Brahmapuram and Kalamassery, cutting of trees for the Kochi Metro Rail project and other environment issues.

Any failure on the part of the officials to initiate action as suggested by the panel would amount to contempt of Parliament, warned Ashwani Kumar, the chairman of the panel.

A special cell would be constituted at the Secretariat of the panel for the effective follow-up of the concerns raised by the panel and the filing of the ATRs, he said.

The panel expressed serious concern over the failure of the authorities in mitigating the pollution of the lake system into which untreated refuses from residential and industrial units are being released. During its last visit to Kochi, the panel had suggested mitigation measures, which have not been implemented. It’s a matter of concern and anxiety for the panel, he said.

The State Pollution Control Board has been asked to report on the issues plaguing the lake system. The committee has asked the State Environment Secretary P. Marapandiyan to file the ATR within 12 weeks on the waste management system at the two sites and also the segregated collection of waste.

Referring to the controversial Ecologically Sensitive Area mapping by the State government and the request for excluding the private holdings from the list, the panel chairman said the holdings, irrespective of their status regarding the possession, need to be protected. The panel will take a note on the issue, said Mr. Kumar.

The committee members, who suggested improved facilities for providing clean drinking water to the residents of Agathi during their visit to the island and reviewed the functioning of the desalination plant there, received complaints from 31 NGOs and civil society members.

Talking to media persons, Mr. Kumar said the State authorities were asked to report on the complaints that trees were cut in excess for the metro project than required. There were also complaints that air pollution levels have increased in the city as a result of construction activities.

On a suggestion to release the land possessed by the BPCL Kochi near Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary for its expansion, the environment secretary was asked to approach the refinery and report to the panel.

If the company doesn’t have any projects coming up on the holding or if it is not using it, then the land could be given for the expansion of the sanctuary, he suggested.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 3:41:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/panel-seeks-atr-on-citys-eco-issues/article7918066.ece

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