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Kerala Rivers Review 2017 : Government Efforts Fail To Protect Rivers

The fifth rivers’ review highlights status of Kerala rivers in the year 2017. 

Rivers Pollution and Government Actions

Govt mulls severe punishment for agents of water pollution The state government on Feb. 2017 signaled its intentions to zero in on agents of pollution in water resources. The Pollution Control Board and Revenue Department officers swooped down on a private resort in Chinnakkanal, Idukki, for allegedly diverting sewage into a potable water source. Water Resources Minister Mathew T Thomas stated that his department has proposed amendments to the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act, 2003, to make punishments more severe. He also said that the govt was planning to have harsher measures in place to discourage people from polluting rivers and water bodies.http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2017/feb/14/kerala-government-mulls-severe-punishment-for-agents-of-water-pollution-1570357–1.html (The New Indian Express, 14 Feb. 2017)

The state also planned to enact strong legislation for the conservation of rivers. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/2017/sep/06/state-to-frame-strong-law-for-river-protection-1653026.html(The New Indian Express, 6 Sept. 2017)

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DRP News Bulletin 19 February 2018 (How Are We Treating Our Urban Rivers?)

In this comprehensive article Mumbai-based author Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar throws the light on the plight of Uraban Rivers. “Rivers and streams have borne the brunt of the recent urban explosion in India, a nation whose population has nearly doubled in the last 40 years to 1.35 billion. Unplanned growth has led to the use of water bodies as dumping grounds for sewage and industrial effluent. According to CPCB, 63 % of the urban sewage flowing into rivers (some 62 billion liters a day) is untreated.

In addition, riverbanks, wetlands, and floodplains have been claimed over time by infrastructure, slums, offices, and housing developments – all of which has narrowed natural river channels and distorted flow, greatly reducing the ability of India’s rivers to buffer flooding. It also has taken a toll on biodiversity. http://e360.yale.edu/features/dying-waters-india-struggles-to-clean-up-its-polluted-urban-rivers (Yale Environment 360, 15 Feb. 2018) 

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Urban Rivers – Moovattupuzha River in Kerala 

– Guest blog by Shri N. Ramdas Iyer

This story from Moovattupuzha Town in Kerala is first in a series of online stories of urban rivers from across India. Please share your feedback and suggestions on the same (Read more in appendix). If you have any urban river stories or images that you might want to share, please send them to ht.sandrp@gmail.com and asid@veditum.org

The Moovattupuzha river which literally means the “river made of three streams”,  these being the Thodupuzha river, the Kothamangalam river and the Kaliyar river, ran just through the backyard of my maternal grandparents’ ancestral home. The river lends its name to the town through which it flows. This shows the importance of the river in the life of the people living in the town of Moovattupuzha. Our house was located just on the banks of the confluence. The famous Puzha Kara Kavil Bhagawathi temple (meaning Bhagawathi on the banks of the river) is visited by a lot of people even now.

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DRP News Bulletin 08 May 2017 (Inspiring Tale: How Kerala Panchayat bring a dying river back to life)

The Kuttamperoor stream in Kerala, connecting the Pampa and Achankovil rivers, had been a nearly stagnant, shrunken cesspool of dumped waste and weeds for more than a decade. Some weeks ago, it was resuscitated as a flowing river, thanks to the will of the Budhanur gram panchayat in Alappuzha district, and the commitment of 700 local men and women who worked to bring the river back to life under the MGNREGA.

The Kuttamperoor was once a full 12 kilometres long and, at places, over 100 feet wide. The river originates from Achankovil at Ulunthi, near Mavelikkara, and flows through Ennackad, Budhanur, Kuttamperoor, Mannar, and Pandanad before merging with the Pampa at Nakkida near Parumala in Pathanamthitta district.

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