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Kerala looks to give three-year jail term and Rs2 lakh fine for polluters of rivers

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-09-2017 Nidheesh M.K.

Bengaluru: Kerala’s ruling left front government on Wednesday decided to introduce stricter punishments such as a three-year jail term or Rs2 lakh fine or both for those who pollute rivers and other water bodies.

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting in the morning, after which chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a statement that the government will introduce an ordinance to amend Kerala River Water and Irrigation Act to this effect.

This will apply to those who dump waste in rivers and waterways, among others. The existing rules specify a one-year jail term or Rs 10000-25000 as fine, which the government feels is not tough enough.

The move comes at a time when the state is facing ecological destruction in the form of pollution of water bodies, encroachment in ecologically fragile spots like Munnar, and erosion of forest land.

The ruling government which came to power last May has asserted that solving environmental issues is a priority for it. 

One of the first major schemes launched by the government was ‘Haritha Keralam’ (Green Kerala), in December, which is tasked with identifying and solving challenges in water conservation, protection of green cover, sanitation and farms.

The government also helped in efforts to revive a dead river called Varattar at the start of this year’s monsoon, the success of which it is planning to replicate in other dead rivers as per finance minister Thomas Isaac.

In August, Vijayan expressed concerns over declining rainfall in the state every monsoon and said it indicates the alarming impact of global climate change. In June, the government observed World Environment Day planting 1crore saplings as part of its ‘Haritha Keralam (Green Kerala)’ mission.

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