Student power to rejuvenate rivers

A few stretches of the Periyar, Muvattupuzha river, Kadamprayar and Chithrapuzha, along with 18 others across the State, will see local bodies and students of 33 engineering colleges joining hands to rejuvenate them.

Hundreds of students from these colleges will shortly come up with detailed actionable project reports, which would look into the pollution, conservation and management issues of these rivers.

The initiative comes from the Water Resources Department following a directive from the National Green Tribunal to clean up the 21 critically polluted rivers of the State.

Students have been trained to look for various causative factors of pollution and provided with a template for easy assessment. Student teams are expected to come up with draft DPRs by February, said T.K. Jose, Additional Chief Secretary, who is overseeing the project.

Students of engineering colleges would visit river stretches allotted to them to collect data and carry out tests for assessing pollution levels and prepare actionable detailed project report for each river, says the concept note.

The template for assessments, which could be used for all the rivers, was developed by Suja R. Nair, Associate Professor, Government Engineering College, Thiruvananthapuram.

One of the advantages of the participatory project is that the actionable project reports of the 21 rivers could be prepared simultaneously and that too at the one-tenth of the cost, estimated by a government department. The progress of the project is monitored every Thursday, said Mr. Jose, who also heads the Water Resources Department.

It has also been envisaged to clean up the rivers from their sources of origin to the areas where they converge with the sea through a participatory mode. Local bodies and other organisations will join the clean-up, conservation and management programmes, he said.

In case of Chithrapuzha, the stretch between Irumpanam and Karingachira has been taken up and students of the Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology, Kakkanad, and Muthoot Institute of Technology and Sciences, Ernakulam, will carry out the analysis.

The SCMS School of Engineering and Technology, Ernakulam, has been assigned the Manckakadavu-Brahmapruam stretch of the Kadamprayar. In case of Muvattupuzha river, the stretches from Kaliyar to Muvattupuzha and from Muvattupuzha to Thodupuzha will be taken care of by students of Sree Narayana Gurukulam College of Engineering, Kolenchery, Mar Baselios Institute of Technology and Science, Kothamangalam, and Viswajyothi College of Engineering and Technology.

The polluted stretches of the Periyar from Aluva-Eloor to Kalamassery, Aluva to Muppathadam and Kalady to Pathalam will be evaluated by the students of TOC H Institute of Science and Technology, Ernakulam, and Adi Sankara Institute of Engineering and Technology, Kalady.

The project is coordinated by Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation.

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