Form expert panel to prevent pollution in Thamirabarani river stretch: HC tells TNPCB

The temple authorities have already taken measures and a permanent infrastructure is set to be established at an estimate of Rs 5 crore.
Thamirabarani river in Tirunelveli.
Thamirabarani river in Tirunelveli.(File photo | V Karthikalagu, EPS)

MADURAI: Taking into account of the water pollution in the Thamarabarani River stretch in Papanasam of Tirunelveli district, caused due to devotees performing religious rituals, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court recently directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the district administration officials to conduct an inspection and submit a report before the court suggesting measures to regulate such activities to prevent pollution in the river.

A division bench comprising Justices R Suresh Kumar and G Arul Murugan issued the direction in a PIL petition filed by Murugan, president of Vikramasingamapuram Anaithu Samuthaya Peravai, seeking to direct the authorities concerned to earmark a place at Arulmigu Papanasam Temple in Papanasam to conduct Tharpanam, Thithi and other allied religious activities, and to provide infrastructure for such activities, consequently to forbear the public from conducting any religious or spiritual ceremonies contaminating Thamirabarani River in any other place other than the earmarked one.

The temple authorities have already taken measures and a permanent infrastructure is set to be established at an estimate of Rs 5 crore. The devotees, who come to perform religious activities in the river bank, have been indiscriminately pouring wastage arising out of such activities. Such religious activities cannot be curtailed or prohibited, but can be regulated. Otherwise, it will result in environmental challenges, thereby leading to water contamination and pollution, the court said.  

Stating that the remedial measures to regulate such activities in the stretch is to be suggested only by the TNPCB, the court said, "Either the district environmental engineer or even other experts from the TNPCB can be pressed into service by forming a team along with the district administration headed by the collector as well as HR & CE department officials."

A team of experts from the TNPCB shall be constituted and the said team shall have a thorough inspection of the entire stretch of Papanasam at Thamirabarani River with the help of the collector, the executive engineer of the public works department in Thamirabarani Irrigation System, joint commissioner of the HR & CE department, executive officer of the temple, and others. The team, after inspection, can file a detailed report on July 15, suggesting measures to regulate these activities, added the court, and adjourned the case. 

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