Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Mar 25, 2004

Cross Currency

Group Sites

Industry & Economy - Water

Kerala Govt to accord highest priority to water conservation

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , March 24

THE State Government has resolved to elevate conservation of water resources and protection of riparian rights to the top of its policy priorities list after being made to bear the brunt of disastrous drought conditions right at the start of the season this year.

Legal remedies are being sought to set right historical wrongs, as in giving concurrence to inter-State river water sharing agreements that are now seen as having been prejudicial to its interests, the Chief Minister, Mr A. K. Antony, told newspersons after a Cabinet meeting.

The Chief Minister, who just returned from a three-day tour of the drought-affected areas, said the conditions were "really bad" that warranted immediate relief measures. He announced that an additional Rs 100 crore was being sanctioned forthwith, which takes cumulative disbursements to Rs 305 crore. The Government will seriously explore methods of preventing such a calamitous situation from recurring in the future.

Funds will not be a constraint in reaching relief to the affected areas. The Cabinet had given its nod to the proposal for making appropriate cuts in Plan funds for being diverted to the relief assistance kitty. In this respect, the Chief Minister felt that the Centre has not been appreciative enough to come up with its share of funds. The State Government finances have been stretched to the limits, and it cannot be expected to deal with the situation on its own.

Commenting on the acute water crisis in the State, he said most of the inter-State river water sharing agreements have been virtual give-aways, executed on the basis of exaggerated claims to ownership of surplus water resources. These claims have evaporated into thin air as exemplified in the drying up of what were once considered "perennial" rivers.

Indiscriminate mining of rivers for sand had only aggravated the situation. This cannot be allowed to continue. Informal discussions with stakeholders were being held to seek and end to river mining.

In this context, there is no question of the Government agreeing to the Pampa-Achenkoil-Vaipar link that would only lead to further diversion of precious water from within the State's territory. This scheme would lead to desertification of the Kuttanad granaries spread over the districts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts.

Answering a specific question, he said directives have been issued for carrying out urgent repairs to the rusting shutters of the Thanneermukkom Bund and the Thottappilly Spillway. The dysfunctional shutters had led to the ingression of seawater into low-lying Kuttanad, destroying standing crop over large expanses.

Elaborating on the drought relief measures proposed - reaching drinking water to affected areas, compensating farmers for damages and creating badly needed employment opportunities to farm and plantation labour - the Chief Minister said panchayat bodies have been directed to implement them at the local level. District Collectors will coordinate the relief work of the crisis management group at the district level, while the Chief Secretary will manage the affairs of the apex crisis management group at the State-level.

The Collectors have also been asked to come up with latest update on the extent of crop loss and other damages that would be included in the fresh memorandum that the State Government intends to submit for the Centre's consideration.

More Stories on : Water | Kerala

Article E-Mail :: Comment :: Syndication :: Printer Friendly Page

Stories in this Section
Depth of desperation

Removal of dumping duty on ammonium nitrate mooted
Bid to tap cost-effective market — US law firms ship project work to India
To achieve double-digit economic growth — FICCI conference to review legal, judicial systems
Waste management is big business now
Sino-Indian team discusses trade prospects
`Free, fair trade is the only forward way for America'
Raise TB awareness level, says PM
Manga's jaws are now in action
Life Sciences Alliance to organise meet in Goa
Reliance Energy revamps bill for Mumbai customers
Textiles pull down overall export growth
`EOUs must be converted to domestic tariff area units'
`Zero-for-zero approach could be best bet in post-MFA regime'
Kerala Govt to accord highest priority to water conservation
Indian chamber bid to explore business opportunities in Gulf
Infighting marks Calcutta tea body poll
`Dairy sector must increase productivity'
`BJP favours allowing FDI in real estate, retailing'
IPR seminar on Friday at Kochi
Kerala: `Micro housing' initiative on anvil
Kudumbasree units of Kochi to widen operations
`Movement of labour, key facet of trade in services'
`Thinking' fencing system at HAL
`Financial Press must act as friend, philosopher & guide'
International food tech show at Hyderabad
Lecture on communication by PRSI
Teachers urged to develop students' skill
In Hyderabad today
Mills favour raw sugar imports by actual users — Shipments into the country top 1 lakh t
Tea Board raises 2003 export figures
Familiarisation trip for UK travel journalists
5 cos register for Green Globe Certification

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2004, The Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu Business Line