Supreme Court asks for Kerala Govt’s reply on desilting of rivers

Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court wants the Kerala Government to reply to a plea that three crore cubic metres of clay, silt and debris clutter the beds of Kerala’s rivers and raise the water level to a dangerous extent, especially during the monsoon.

A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar has sought the State’s response to the petition filed by Sabu Steephen, represented by advocate V.K. Biju, seeking emergency measures to desilt the blocked rivers before the rains really set in.

Mr. Biju argued on Friday in the court that the State had seen floods in two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019. It had taken hundreds of lives, injured thousands and displaced lakhs. The economic loss is yet to be ascertained, the petition said.

“There is an estimated total quantity of 3,01,48,879.46 cubic metres of clay, sand , silt and waste accumulated in the 44 rivers within the State of Kerala. Such a huge quantity of accumulated waste in the rivers adversely affect the natural flow of river water,” the petition said.

It said the river Periyar alone has accumulated silt and debris of 1.83 crore cubic metre. Out of the total 3.01 crore cubic metres of silt, only 78,359.391 cubic metres have been removed as on March 13 this year. This comes to a “meagre and negligible .25%”, the plea stated.

“This is a clear sign of irresponsibility and failure of the authorities,” the petition said.

The case is scheduled for hearing on July 11, as soon as the court reopens after the summer holidays.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 1:12:59 am |