'EIA for water bottling plant not essential'
By Prabhat Nair | ENS | Published: 14th September 2013 10:55 AM |
The State Government, which had already invited criticism for not holding an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for setting up a bottled drinking-water plant in Idukki, has now claimed that there is no need for such a study. “There is no need for conducting an EIA ahead of setting up the bottling plant near Malankara Dam,” Water Resources Minister P J Joseph told ‘Express’.
When asked whether it was not mandatory to conduct an EIA for all minor and major projects, he stressed that the bottled drinking water plant would not have any impact on the environment.
However, he said that the government would look into it if there was any need for an environment study. On the allegations that the drinking water plant will have far-reaching consequences, such as depletion of water level and effect on the flow of Periyar river, Joseph said: “There will be no shortage of water in the area and the flow of the water downstream will not be affected.”
Stating that hundreds of bottled drinking water plants were functioning in the state, he said: “All these plants have been set up without conducting an EIA. Why are protests being raised when a bottled drinking water plant is being set up in the public sector?”
The Opposition, environmentalists, experts and a section of leaders within the Congress had criticised the move of the Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (KIIDC) - which comes under the Water Resources Department - to set up the plant near Malankara dam in Idukki, flouting all norms and without a proper EIA.The CPM had opined that the plant should be set up only after conducting all necessary studies.
Environmentalists S Faizi and C R Neelakandan had said that the government should desist from the move and conduct an EIA.
They said that when the state was already reeling under water shortage, such projects would have adverse impact.
Green Brigade MLAs from the ruling UDF, V D Satheeshan and T N Prathapan, noted that it was imperative that such projects were given sanction only after conducting proper studies, especially EIA. As per the project, the plant will produce 7,500 bottles (1000 ml) of water per hour. It also proposes to draw water from the reservoir.