Kerala government is mulling to impose stringent punishment for those who pollute rivers and other water bodies, in view of widespread complaints about pollution of water resources in the state. State Minister for Water Resources Mathew T Thomas said in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday that the existing rules would be amended to ensure stringent punishment for those who pollute rivers.
“I have asked Law Department to submit recommendation for an amendment to stringent punishment in this regard. I have given such an assurance in the state Assembly also,” he told reporters during a ‘meet the press’ programme, organised by Kerala Union of Working Journalists.
The government would also consider whether to set up a common authority or separate boards for the conservation of backwaters in the state, he said. Though Kerala is faced with the threat of the most severe drought after two monsoons have drawn a near blank, the government is well-prepared to face the challenges in this regard, the minister said. “There was a sharp decrease of rainfall to the tune of 34 per cent during the south-west monsoon. There is 65 per cent dip in rainfall during the north-west monsoon so far. But the government has taken enough measures to ensure the availability of enough drinking water,” he said.
A meeting of Groundwater Department officials would be convened on December seven to discuss the steps to revive unused public tube wells across the state, as part of plans to ensure the availability of water, he said. “At present, only 30 per cent of people in the state are getting purified drinking water. The objective of our government is to extend this to 100 per cent and ensure the availability of purified drinking water in all houses,” he said.
To a question whether the banning of bottled water in Sabarimala has hit the ongoing pilgrimage at the hill shrine, the minister said 33,000 litres of purified water is being distributed per hour at the hillock shrine and its premises through special kiosks.