THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The environmental regeneration of Veli-Akkulam Lake, the much-hyped project launched to save it from water hyacinth menace, remains a far cry.
Recently, the ministry of environment and forest demanded the Kerala government to refund the unspent Centre allocation to the tune of Rs 4.29 crore under the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) back in 2010.
However, the lake infested with water hyacinth continues to be in a dire state and is adversely affecting tourism. The Union government sanctioned Rs 25.56 crore for the scheme of Environmental Regeneration of Veli-Akkulam Lake back in 2010. Out of which the Centre and State shares were Rs 17.19 crore and Rs 7.37 crore respectively.
The Centre released the first instalment to the tune of Rs 4.29 crore for kicking off the project.
Sources say that the fund was transferred to the account of Travancore Cement Limited (TCL), but the project reached nowhere till day.
According to sources, the lake has shrunk to a vast extent since the dredging activities were launched. It is learnt that there were no takers for the large quantity of silt removed from the lake.
“Apart from roping in various agencies, the authorities couldn’t ensure the proper implementation of the project. Now the centre has asked to refund the sanctioned amount,” an official said.
“There are no takers for the silt taken out from the lake which led to the dumping of silts in multiple spots. Later the contractor who was roped in for removing it also backed out and following which the removed quantity was used for reclamation which shrinks the lake.”...