Govt to fine misuse of piped drinking water

Water Resources Minister Mathew T. Thomas on Thursday told the Assembly that he planned to prohibitively fine or tax those persons and businesses who illegally diverted treated drinking water for other purposes.

Seeking the approval of the House for the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Mr. Thomas said the government might further reduce the nominal levy (₹4 for 1,000 litres) on piped drinking water.

However, it could not condone the brazen wastage of water treated at a high cost for washing cars, watering lawns, tending gardens and bathing cattle.

The government spends much public treasure on harvesting water from reservoirs, making it fit for human consumption and piping it to population centres. It had a duty to conserve water and regulate its use.

The Bill, passed unanimously by the Assembly, later proposes to make pollution of water bodies a cognisable and non-bailable offence. It suggests not less than three years of imprisonment and a minimum ₹2 lakh fine for those who befoul water bodies.

The Bill identifies letting out raw sewage, dumping of garbage, hospital and hotel waste, pumping untreated industrial effluent, dropping plastic, slaughter refuse as some of the significant causes of pollution. Mr. Thomas said the government was oath-bound to restore rivers, lagoons and ponds to their pristine State. The Bill would help the State to embark on ambitious programmes of reversing water pollution and conserving water bodies for future generations in the face of global climate change.

The government would use barrages and dykes to regulate the flow of water along rivers. It would make water distribution more efficient by replacing leaky cement pipes in a phased manner, given the enormous costs involved. The State has constituted a dam safety committee headed by a retired Chief Justice.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader M. Ummer requested the government to accord water free to dialysis centres that offer free service to kidney patients.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said troubling questions about the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam weighed heavily on Kerala’s collective consciousness and the government should take steps to mitigate public fear. He batted for small dams instead of big ones, given their safety and environmental implications.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 9:29:33 pm |