The State government has set its sights on tapping the potential of higher education institutions in conserving water bodies.
As a pilot project, the University of Kerala has been entrusted with the cleaning and rejuvenation of the Vamanapuram river in Thiruvananthapuram and Kallada river in Kollam.
The decision was taken by the high power committee on river management, chaired by the Revenue Minister. The project will be extended to Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, depending upon the success of its initial phase.
The project will be undertaken by mobilising the volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) units in the affiliating colleges. While the varsity had 16,400 volunteers spread across its 164 NSS units, the pilot project would involve the mobilisation of around 1,000 volunteers, official sources said.
The project would be supervised by the Institute of Land and Disaster Management (ILDM), functioning under the Revenue Department.
A total amount of Rs. 6.92 lakh has been sanctioned for the project from the revenue management funds of Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.
The River Management Cell at the ILDM would formulate the guidelines for the project execution.
While the agreement for the project would be signed by the ILDM director and the NSS programme coordinator within a few days, Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan would formally launch the project at the University Senate Chamber on October 8.
The volunteers would then undergo a three-day-long training programme at the ILDM, prior to undertaking the conservation drive.
As part of the project, poramboke land on the river banks would be identified using the river bank mapping report and with the assistance of the Revenue department and local self-government institutions.
Around 10,000 saplings would be planted on the river bank as part of conserving the water bodies.
The respective NSS units would be entrusted with the upkeep of the plants with the best units being considered for awards or endowments as recognition for their efforts.