Kochi: The Kerala High Court has sought response of the state Transport department, the district panchayat of Kollam and the corporation there to a PIL initiated by the court on the issue of Ashtamudi Lake turning into a dump site for sewage and solid waste.
The High court impleaded the transport department of the state, district panchayat of Kollam and the corporation as parties in the PIL, and issued notices to them, to find out the correctness of the averments in the Kerala State Legal Services Authority's (KeLSA) report which claims the lake's condition is "very pathetic" due to discharge of sewage from nearby areas into it.
KeLSA's Member-Secretary and District Judge K T Nisar Ahammad, in his report to the high court, had said that adequate measures need to be taken to control pollution in Ashtamudi Lake.
The report had said that sewage from nearby residences and government establishments was the main reason for pollution of the lake and also for putting its unique wetland ecosystem under risk of permanent damage.
It had also said that effluents from certain slaughter houses, allegedly under the management of Kollam Corporation, were being drained into Ashtamudi Lake.
KeLSA had further stated that there has been no progress with regard to the proposal to erect 3 sewage treatment plants in the area after the Detailed Project Report was approved.
The authority also told the high court that it would be conducting awareness classes to spread the message of protection of the environment, particularly Ashtamudi Lake.
On Saturday, state Finance Minister K N Balagopal told PTI that a massive drive has been launched by the Kerala government to clean and conserve the state's once scenic Ashtamudi Lake.
He had said that the lake will regain its lost beauty and adequate funds have been allocated for it.
He had said that the state government, in its previous budget, allocated Rs 500 crore in the first phase for rejuvenating water bodies across the state and a portion of this fund will be used for cleaning and rejuvenating the Ashtamudi lake facing the risk of permanent damage due to dumping of waste.
The Minister's statement came a day after PTI, quoting a study by KeLSA on the Kerala High Court's direction, reported that the lake in Kollam has become a dumpsite for sewage which is slowly choking it to death.
Balagopal had also said not only Ashtamudi lake, all water bodies in the state, including rivers, streams, ponds and canals, will be cleaned and rejuvenated for protecting their unique ecosystems, which is essential for the existence of the human race.