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March 23, 2010

Eco groups vow to protect lake

Sudheeran seeks steps to constitute statutory authority
 
http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/23/stories/2010032356410300.htm

23 March 2010


Staff Reporter , Kollam:

Environment activists in the district sat on the parched bed of the shrinking Sasthamcotta Lake and went on fast on Monday to observe World Water Day as part of their continuing agitation demanding the protection of the lake which is the biggest freshwater lake in the State and designated as a Ramsar site in 2002.

Those undertaking the fast took a pledge to protect the lake. The pledge was administered by Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran. The fast was under the banner of the Paristhiti Samrakshana Ekopana Samithi and the Sasthamcotta Lake Protection Action Council. It had the support of the Sasthamcotta grama panchayat. People from all age groups and various walks of life joined the fast.

Inaugurating the fast, Mr. Sudheeran called for the immediate declaration of the Sasthamcotta Lake as a protected area. He also called for the constitution of a statutory authority as promised by the government for the protection of the lake. Such an authority, as an autonomous body, was needed because the protection of the lake required the coordination of various departments. He would even welcome an Ordinance for the purpose.

The protection of the lake also required a master plan which could be successfully drafted only by an autonomous body.

No kind of encroachments on the lake should be allowed. A total sanitation programme should also be implemented in Sasthamcotta to prevent the lake from getting polluted. The present picture of the lake was a heart rending sight – it reflected the concerns expressed by environmentalists years ago.

The protection of the Sasthamcotta Lake was not an issue pertaining to Kollam district alone but one that concerned the State. Steps on a war-footing should be taken to prevent the lake from going extinct. He wanted the environmental activists and the action council members to urgently meet the Chief Minister and the Water Resources Minister on the issue of speeding up the formation of the statutory authority for the lake.

The programme was presided over by Samithi chairman R. Gangaprasad. General convener Odanavattam Vijayaprakash presented the report on the condition of the lake. Environment activists P.K. Gopan, Chavara K.S. Pillai, T. Geetha, C. Jayakumar. K. Najib and K. Sajid spoke.