The Kerala High Court on Tuesday took suo-motu cognizance of news reports highlighting contamination of River Periyar.
The court said "It was spurred to suo motu address this issue, since the pollution of river Periyar can cause extremely deleterious consequences to our State – it being the one with the largest discharge potential, providing water to major towns and cities."
A division bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice T R Ravi said "The media, both mainstream and social, have reported about the horrific contamination of river Periyar in spite of the lockdown – which, as at present, proffers no explanation. Two of such reports - that appeared in the Indian Express and Times of India - are available to this Court, which we order to be treated as part of these proceedings; and prima facie, they indicate that something is seriously amiss."
The bench issued notices to the respondents, State of Kerala, represented by the Secretary, Environment Department, Thiruvananthapuram; the District Collector, Ernakulam; The Kerala Water Authority, Thiruvananthapuram; The Executive Engineer, Irrigation Department, Thiruvananthapuram; Kerala State Pollution Control Board, represented by its Member Secretary, Thiruvananthapuram, returnable on April 24.
Additional Advocate General, Renjith Thampan, informed the court that there have been some reports regarding the widespread pollution to the river but he said that a final call on this matter can be taken only after proper scrutiny. Advocate T.Naveen, appearing for the Pollution Control Board, sought a couple of days time to respond and prayed the matter be listed for further hearing on April 24, within which time he will place necessary reports before the court.
The court agreed to the request but reminded the pollution control board that "This is a matter of great urgency, which can brook no delay and that they must act up to speed on this perilous problem, without any waste of time."
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