Doubts over viability of drinking water project

Staff Reporter

Water source is far away: environmentalists

‘Objective of the scheme not clear’

State’s loan commitment to go up: KSSP

KOZHIKODE: Environmental groups have sought clarifications on the efficacy of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)-aided drinking water project for Kozhikode city and its suburbs which envisages transporting water from more than 50 km away.

The JBIC-aided project had been the subject of discussions and protests, by local residents, for inconveniences caused due to the laying of huge pipelines in different parts of the city.

A convention organised by the Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) in Perambra on Saturday pointed out that instead of using the waters of the nearby Chaliyar and Kadalundipuzha, the JBIC programme contemplated bringing water from Peruvannamuzhi which is 50 km away.

A. Achyuthan, environmentalist, said the objective of the scheme was not clear and it appeared that the project was being implemented for its own sake.

Dr. Achyuthan was of the view that the JBIC-aided project, in an effort to provide drinking water to urban segments, would bring about severe drinking water shortage in rural pockets.

T.P. Kunhikannan of the KSSP said no detailed discussions were held before initiating the project and the difficulties being experienced by the local residents were very evident.

The Rs.440-crore JBIC-aided project envisages providing 14.40 crore litres of water from the Peruvannamuzhi reservoir to Kozhikode city and 16 grama panchayats including, Nanmanda, Kakkur, Kunnamangalam, Peruvayal, Perumanna, Narikkuni, Karuvattur, Balussery, Chelannur, Elathur, Kakkodi, Thalakulathur, Olavanna, Cheruvannur-Nallalam and Beypore.

Dr. Achyuthan and Prof. Kunhikannan said the argument that only 1.80 crore litres of water could be extracted from the Chaliyar was incorrect. The Grasim factory used to use 6 crore litres a day, they said.

Also, diverting the canal waters of the Kuttiadi project for JBIC would deprive 60 grama panchayats and two municipalities of drinking water. It was also not possible to bring water from Peruvannamuzhi without loss to agriculture in the nearby areas. Such a situation would be suicidal when efforts were on to increase paddy cultivation, they added.

From the economic point of view, the JBIC project will only increase the State’s international loan commitment and result in increased water tax, they argued.

Dr. Achyuthan and Prof. Kunhikannan also said the inflow to Kuttiadi from Banasurasagar and Mannathavadi projects was negligible and cannot be relied on.

They sought to ask whether the inflow into Kuttiadi, was considered while the JBIC project was launched. Will there be enough water to flow through the 1.8-metre pipeline over a distance of 48 km, they said. There was also the danger of destroying the Ponmalapara for setting up a treatment plant, the environmentalists said.

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