Periyar forgotten, funds diverted

PERIYAR_0.jpg.crop_display.jpg

The district administration is set to use the Rs 18 crore left in the River Management Fund (RMF), for the Thevara-Perandoor (TP) canal works and also for developing a waterway in Kadambrayar, even as Kochi’s main water source, the Periyar, gasps for breath due to unmindful sand mining and pollution.

District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareeth told Deccan Chronicle that the two proposals worth Rs 8 crore and Rs 12 crore respectively, are ready in this regard.

The matter on the TP canal project has been sent to the state government. Once the Rs 18 crore from the RMF is exhausted, the district administration will have to either secure funds from the state government or raise them on its own.

While the Kadambrayar work is meant to combine transport and tourism, the declogging of the TP canal is aimed at facilitating free flow of rain water from the city to the backwaters.

Interestingly, the funds for the RMF are raised from the sale of river sand mined mainly from the Periyar and the Muvattupuzhayar.

The irony of it is that the district administration does not use these funds for the restoration of these dying rivers. Nor is it trying to make Kadambrayar a drinking water source for Kochi.

“The rivers are gasping for breath. In the ghats where five loads are allowed to be mined, 50 loads are being wrongfully taken away while only what’s due from the five loads is given to the RMF,” said Prof S.Seetharaman, vice-president, Kerala River Protection Council.

Prof Seetharaman added that the council will object to the district collector’s move and will not hesitate to take legal steps in this regard.

When the district collector was asked whether he had any statistics relating to the RMF used for the Periyar, he replied in the negative. He also said he was unaware of any desilting work being undertaken by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited in the TP canal.

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