KOZHIKODE: Finally, the Pampa River Basin Authority is taking the issue of conserving the river, in all seriousness, well after six years of its inception.
It has now decided to prepare a master plan for conserving and cleaning up the Pampa within six months. The master plan will have a detailed programme for controlling pollution in the third largest river in the State. It’s been found that pollution peaks during the Sabarimala season.
Dr George Chackachery, scientist and head, Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) sub centre, Thiruvananthapuram, who was newly appointed as the project director of the Pampa River Basin Authority, said they were in the process of forming rules for conserving and cleaning up the river.
“The master plan will be ready in another six months. "First we have to build an office for the Authority and then formulate rules.
The details need to be worked out and we are assessing the issues related to the pilgrimage season and the pollution of the river,” he said.
According to sources in the Authority, the Government had so far not taken the conservation of the river Pampa seriously and had stopped with setting up an Authority.
Though the Authority was constituted six years ago, it had no office, no full time director and no rules to stop contamination of the river, the main feeder to the Vembanadu Lake eco-system.
Studies on the health of the river by CWRDM had shown alarming levels of pollution and changes in the pattern of sedimentation, which if unattended to, could kill the river permanently.
The main source of pollution to the river was found to be open defecation on the banks of the Pampa by Ayyappa devotees during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season.
“No matter how many public toilets you have, pilgrims preferred to defecate in the open. Unless it’s made a punishable offence, it would be difficult to bring about a change.
But the Government is scared to act against the interests of the devotees as the temple is a major revenue generator,” said a senior scientist who was involved in the study....