Kerala plans to establish River Management Authority

Environmentalists complain the government is not taking protection of rivers seriously and the land mafia is encroaching river banks on a large scale.

Published: 17th December 2018 03:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th December 2018 03:46 AM   |  A+A-

Killiyar river at Maruthamkuzhi stretch  B P Deepu

Express News Service

KOCHI: Following the massive floods which devastated five districts last August, the state government is planning to establish a River Management Authority (RMA) for the effective control and utilisation of rivers.

The government believes an RMA with executive powers will help it protect rivers from pollution and encroachment. Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management, Environment) P H Kurian said the state requires an RMA having exclusive powers.

“Rivers are the state’s lifeline. We’re discussing the possibility of establishing an RMA,” said Kurian, adding only a dedicated authority will be able to work round the clock.

Environmentalists complain the government is not taking protection of rivers seriously and the land mafia is encroaching river banks on a large scale.

Above all, the recent floods, which witnessed swelling of rivers and flooding of hectares of adjacent areas, exposed rapid encroachment and improper urban planning of landscapes. Experts have pointed out unscientific use of land and water resources was one of the main reasons for severity of floods and damage.

The post-disaster need assessment report prepared by the UN after studying the floods had highlighted the need for an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the state. The report states IWRM as one of the four pillars of ‘Build Back Better and Faster Recovery Strategy’ for Kerala.

“It emphasises cross-disciplinary coordination of water, land and related resources in a river basin, watershed or catchment to achieve long-term sustainability. With IWRM in place, it is possible to make proper plans for water safety and water security based on actual and planned land use, resulting in multiple basin plans. Coordinated land and water use demands inter-sectorality at the level of policy, planning and implementation. IWRM aims to break existing inter-sectoral barriers to establish a holistic framework for coordination,” the report added.

Saving the rivers

● The post-disaster need assessment report prepared by the UN after studying the floods had highlighted the need for an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the state
● Experts have pointed out unscientific use of land and water resources was one of the main reasons for severity of floods and damage
● Greens complain that the government is not taking protection of rivers seriously and the land mafia is encroaching river banks on a large scale.

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