The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has directed the State government to expedite the process of acquiring land in Chittur, an area near Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML) facing pollution-related problems.
The issue was earlier raised by N.K. Premachandran, MP, in Lok Sabha pointing out the need to take over the land and rehabilitate the residents to save them from the hazardous impacts of pollution.
According to Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, the Ministry has requested the State government to take appropriate action in the matter.
During the late 80s and early 90s a leak from the iron oxide ponds of the KMML had resulted in soil and groundwater pollution in nearby areas.
After acid from the sludge had leaked into soil, a new iron oxide pond was constructed in 2008. Later National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the KMML to prepare both short term and long term measures for Environmental Management Plan and present the same to the Kerala State Pollution Control Board KPCB for approval and further directions.
Three DPRs were prepared for short-term measures and they by the PCB. Proposals for construction of garland drain and remediation measures for the affected parts were submitted and later the PCB had recommended to establish a pilot model for the contaminated area around the KMML and initiate further action after assuring the performance of that model.
After the NGT directed the PCB to monitor the implementation, the board has been carrying out periodic inspections and is closely monitoring the implementation of the remediation measures.
“As per the directive of the Ministry, the State government should speed up the land acquisition process in Chittur and nearby areas,” said Mr. Premachandran.