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Chemical Treatment In Pampa Tributary Banned  
Source:   The Hindu City   : Pathanamthitta Published On   14-12-2009  


District Collector T.T. Antony has banned chemical treatment of the water in the Njunangar stream, a tributary of the Pampa, under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The ban order was issued on Saturday night to the Travancore Devaswom Board, which, along with the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB), had been making arrangements for a controversial treatment process using ferrous chloride, titanium and lime.

The PCB Chairman had earlier directed that the treatment be started on an emergency basis.

The ban will, for the time being, set at rest the fear among people that the treatment of water using contaminated ferrous chloride will pollute the Pampa with heavy metals.

Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar, who is the Chief Commissioner of the Devaswom Board, told The Hindu that he would convene a high-level meeting to discuss the issue on Monday. Officials of the PCB, the Kerala Water Authority, the Irrigation Wing of the Water Resources Department and the engineers of the Devaswom Board would participate.

He said the meeting would explore the possibility of launching eco-friendly treatment of the river water to reduce the coliform count in it during the annual pilgrimage.

The Devaswom Board and the PCB have constructed a check-dam and installed sprayers on it for the controversial chemical treatment upstream of the stream at Cheriyanavattom. This chemical process had been carried out in the past two pilgrimage seasons at Sabarimala. The process can considerably reduce the coliform count, but heavy metal contamination is far more hazardous, experts say. Many experts in the PCB, the water authority and eco groups such as the Pampa Parirakshana Samithi (protection committee) are against this process, which they call unscientific.

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