NGT slaps fine of Rs 10 cr on Kerala govt citing pollution at Vembanad, Ashtamudi lakes

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Vembanad lake | File Photo: Mathrubhumi

Alappuzha: The National Green Tribunal imposed a penalty of Rs 10 crore on the Kerala government for not tackling pollution in Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes. NGT has directed the government to ensure the money is in the chief secretary’s account in a month and prepare an action plan for making the lakes pollution-free.

According to the instructions, the amount must be collected from the concerned officials and institutions.

The NGT’s principal bench pronounced the verdict based on environmentalist KV Krishnadas' petition.

The tribunal found lapses on the part of the institutions surrounding the lakes and the state government in treating wastes. The concentration of Coliform bacteria in 100 millilitre of water has to be below 500 mpn. However, it exceeded 2,500 mpn in 100 millilitre in both the lakes.

The Supreme Court had ordered immediate action to deal with the escalating pollution in the lakes, when the court considered a related case on February 28, 2022. The Supreme Court proposed the state government to take action as per the guidelines of the NGT. Though the government informed the NGT that it rolled out awareness campaigns against water pollution and served 1,176 notices to houseboats, flats, hotels and industries for not implementing systems for managing wastes, the tribunal was not satisfied.

The corporations, municipalities and panchayats which are the direct beneficiaries of the lakes will be considered as accountable for the pollution.

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