The High Court of Kerala has admitted a Public Interest Litigation seeking strong action under the supervision of the court to monitor, contain and prevent the rampant pollution of the Periyar caused by a variety of factors including contamination by industrial effluents and even fecal matter.
Admitting the PIL on April 24, the Division Bench comprising Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice T R Ravi specifically took note of the submissions made by the petitioner and directed the Kerala Pollution Control Board to share with the petitioner the detailed report submitted in the suo motu case taken by the High Court.
With regard to specific requests to appoint an independent agency to conduct inspection etc., it was ordered that the same shall be considered after this lockdown period. The petitioner KSR Menon, author-journalist and President of the Democratic Social Justice Party (DSJP) thanked the court for admitting the PIL. Dr. Mathew A Kuzhalnadan of KMNP Law, appeared for the petitioner through video conferencing.
“Our justice system is today the only resort for the common man to ensure that industries and other unscrupulous elements do not pollute and destroy our precious water resources for personal benefit. Since 2017, we have been knocking at the doors of the Kerala Pollution Control Board, the Central Pollution Control Board and the ruling government demanding urgent steps to save the Periyar but all our pleas fell on deaf ears,” Menon said.
He said protection of river and other water bodies of the state was an integral part of the DSJP policies. The media in Kerala have relentlessly campaigned to rescue the rivers and these reports and other studies had been cited in the PIL.
“The Periyar is a key source of drinking water for Kochi and thousands of people depend upon the river for livelihood. But the pollution had turned the river into a cesspool and killed the fish stock even during this corona crisis period but the authorities refused to take any action,” the release added.