KERALA

Rs.24.8-crore conservation plan for Sasthamcotta Lake

The State government has made an allocation of Rs.24.8 crore for conserving and protecting the Sasthamcotta freshwater lake.

The declaration was made by Additional Chief Secretary V.J. Kurien in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at a meeting held at Sasthamcotta on Friday.

Mr. Kurien also announced that in order to mitigate the pressure on the lake, Rs.14 crore had been allocated for an alternative water supply scheme for Kollam city from the Kallada river and Rs.16 crore for a similar scheme for Chavara-Panmana areas from the Pallikkal river. Both these schemes were expected to be commissioned in a year.

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Chandy said the drought situation which gripped the State this year should be an eye opener for all concerned in the State. “It underlines the fact that we cannot afford to proceed the way we used to go about with water and water resources,” Mr. Chandy said. The meeting was convened to discuss and find lasting solutions for the protection of the Sasthamcotta freshwater lake.

Mr. Chandy said the water level of the lake was getting dangerously depleted. “If we continue like this, we may lose the lake forever.” Conserving and protecting the lake was not a need of Sasthamcotta alone but of the State too. So it was time for taking some crucial decisions for the purpose. “These decisions will have to be implemented in a time-bound manner,” Mr. Chandy said.

Therefore, there was an imperative need to reduce the pressure on the lake by exploring and tapping other water sources to meet the water requirements of Kollam city and other areas which was now met from the Sasthamcotta Lake. The government has taken certain decisions in this connection, he said.

The Chief Minister said the State was blessed with rich water sources but most of them were getting depleted and human inflicted pollution was one of the main causes for that. Even the water we drink presuming to be safe may not always be safe because of the polluting factor. Therefore, some measures on a war footing was required to save the water sources and the Sasthamcotta Lake was the best starting point for that, he said.

The meeting was presided over by Kovur Kunjumon, MLA. Union Minister of State for Labour Kodikunnil Suresh, managing director of the Kerala Water Authority A.K. Singh, KWA chief engineer P. Sreekumaran Nair, District Collector B. Mohanan, former minister N.K. Premachandran, representatives of the people, officials from various departments and environment activists attended the meeting.

Before attending the meeting Mr. Chandy took a view of the lake from its Ambalakadavu banks.