Vadavucode-Puthencruz panchayat forms first ever environment-health experts committee


Pollution remains a major concern in panchayat which is home to several industrial units

Pollution remains a major concern in panchayat which is home to several industrial units

The Vadavucode-Puthencruz panchayat has formed what is arguably the first environment-health expert committee by any local body in the State.

The committee has been formed exploring the possibilities of Section 163 of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act that permits local bodies to form special expert committees of advisory nature for specific purposes. The panchayat governing committee had approved the seven-member committee chaired by advocate Benjamin Paul and Krishnakumar KS as convener.

The committee undertook its first visit to Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Limited and inspected its hazardous waste and biomedical waste treatment facilities last week.

“Our panchayat is home to several industrial units and hence pollution remains a major concern. The committee of experts will help us do our best for ensuring air and water quality. Besides, frequent visits by the expert committee will also help keep the industrial units alert and ensure their compliance with rules and regulations,” said Sonia Murukeshan, panchayat president.

The committee undertook its first visit to Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Limited and inspected its hazardous waste and biomedical waste treatment facilities last week. The monsoon shed storing hazardous waste, stability shed, dumping pits, and leachate treatment plant of the hazardous waste treatment facility and incinerators, shredders, and autoclave of the biomedical treatment facility were inspected by the committee, which found them to be functional as per the guidelines.

“The committee is supposed to serve three roles. It will conduct a scientific study of pollution-related complaints against industrial units and submit a report based on which the panchayat will be able to take an informed decision. We can conduct independent research on matters relating to health and environment besides serving as a body for creating awareness,” said Mr. Krishnakumar.

The committee, however, will not have any independent powers but will perform largely on the directions of the panchayat governing committee. While it can raise its concerns before the panchayat, the committee will have no authority to interact and receive complaints from people directly.

“Our visits to the industrial units will be subjected to the approval of the panchayat, which in turn will alert the unit concerned. We have also drawn up a checklist of documents to seek from the units during our visits,” said Mr. Krishnakumar.

The committee has also drawn up a by-law for its functioning, which, among other things, provides for regular meetings to take up matters of relevance.

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