Tribunal stays construction of sewage treatment plant

The South Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal in Chennai has passed an interim stay order on the construction of the Sewage Treatment Plant at Karimpanappalam in the city. The order came as a result of a petition filed by I.K. Biju, a resident of the region and chairman of the Kottooly Wetlands Protection Committee.

This is the second time that the Green Tribunal is interfering in the case of the same plant. The Kozhikode Municipal Corporation had planned to construct the 13.5 mld plant within the Kottooly wetlands reclaiming 18.5 acres of it. However, after the Wetlands Protection Committee approached the court against it citing environmental reasons, the Government of Kerala had withdrawn the permission for the plant in July 2013.

Later, the Corporation identified 2.6 acres of land belonging to the Kerala Water Authority next to the wetlands, to construct the STP. This caused further alarm among the local people as well as the environmentalists, as the said land is located just outside the gate of Sarovaram Bio Park, an eco-tourism project of the Department of Tourism formed to protect the Kottooly wetlands, which is one of the only five notified wetlands in the State.

As the construction activities are in progress on the said land, the Wetlands Protection Committee as well as the Sarovaram Biopark- Connolly canal- Kottooly Wetlands Protection Forum came up with strong protest questioning the practicality of the project.

They questioned how a project which was planned for 18.5 acres of land could be restricted to 2.6 acres. The demand from the consulting agency of the project to acquire additional 4 acres of land for the project confirmed their suspicions. That more land was not available in the vicinity without reclaiming the nearby wetland forced them to approach the Green Tribunal.

The Wetland protection committee also claims that the STP and the sludge produced by it will convert the wetland into a garbage dump yard and cause irrevocable damage to the ecosystem there. It claims that the authorities have flouted many laws on environment to enable the construction of the STP.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:28:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/tribunal-stays-construction-of-sewage-treatment-plant/article8023975.ece

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