Route clear for sewage plant at Karimpanapalam

Corporation to seek KIIFB help to execute project

With the Wetland Authority of Kerala declaring that the land for the proposed sewage treatment plant (STP) at Karimpanapalam (near Sarovaram Biopark) in the city was indeed not wetland, the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation has revived hopes to complete the much-awaited project.

Work on the STP, which was a key part of the citywide sewerage network, was put off following an injunction from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2016. However, after a protracted legal battle, the tribunal had asked the Wetland Authority last year to decide if the land in question was part of the Kottooli wetland.

The authority had recently declared that the land, which was part of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) compound at Karimpanapalam, was 145 metres away from the Kottooli wetland and hence could not be considered part of the wetland and, therefore, not under the authority’s jurisdiction. This clears the last hurdle before the corporation to complete the project.

The construction of the plant that began in 2015 met a dead end after the Eranhipalam-Palat Residents’ Association and the Kottooly Wetland Protection Committee came up against it on the grounds that the project would pollute the nearby Conolly Canal. They also alleged that the KWA land in which the project was proposed to come up, was an illegal landfill which was actually part of the Kottooli wetland, one of the five notified wetlands in the State.

The organisations had then approached the NGT and procured an injunction in 2016, restraining the corporation or the Kerala State Urban Development Programme (KSUDP), which was the nodal agency for the construction of the STP then, from carrying out any construction activities or other operations in the 2.6-acre land.

By the time, KSUDP, an Asian Development Bank-funded project, had spent around ₹17 crore for the STP project in the form of pipelines and manholes, besides carrying out foundation work for the plant. The project, however, lay abandoned after the injunction, raising questions of what would happen to the money spent.

With the clearance from the Wetland Authority, the corporation is now trying to find funds for the project from the Kerala Infrastructure and Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The estimated cost has escalated to more than ₹200 crore in the meantime.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 2:29:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/route-clear-for-sewage-plant-at-karimpanapalam/article30967063.ece

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