The controversy over the conversion of a pond into a swimming pool in Pallichal Panchayat has taken a new turn with the Lok Ayukta appointing an Advocate Commission to look into the issue. A division bench comprising Justice Pius C Kuriakose and Justice K P Balachandran appointed the commission with five points to be explored.
Jitu S Babu, who has been appointed as the commission, on Monday visited the pond and took stock of the present situation. He told City Express that a report will be filed before Friday. Babu said the court has asked him to look into four aspects. It is learned that the commission has been asked to look into if it was a natural pond and if there was a spring. Moreover, the commission was also asked to record the area that has been filled and the portion of water now present.
The division bench had decided to appoint a commission after hearing the arguments of both the panchayat and those opposing the conversion. It is argued that the pond was a natural water body under the government and was found in the survey records of 1920. The panchayat and others had argued that the pond was dry, whereas the petitioner had convinced the court with pictures that there was still water in the pond.
Earlier, there were allegations that the water-filled pond was dried up for facilitating the conversion. A petition has been already filed with the panchayat, agricultural office and the police, alleging that the pond that was almost full in the recent showers was dried up only to create an impression that it was always dry.
The authorities have already filled a large portion of the pond. It is alleged that the work is being done at a fast pace so that no one can ever stop it for ever. The Lok Ayukta has posted the hearing of the case to April 28.
The City Express had earlier reported about the protest of the local people against converting the pond into a swimming pool and the adamant stand of the Pallichal Panchayat in going ahead with the project.
Though the panchayat claims that it would not have any adverse impact in the future, the people are skeptical. They fear that the area that is already reeling under water shortage will see a worse situation in the future.