favours dismantling of ‘unviable’ Kerala barrage
June 21: BOOKER Prize winner and environmental activist Arundhati
Roy has called for dismantling the Thannermukkam barrage on the
Meenachil river to protect the river. She was speaking at an eco
meet organised by the Meenachil River Protection Committee here
Raising the issue of overkill of rivers in the state, she said that
ecosystems have been indiscriminately damaged and people have become
unconcerned about it due to over-politicisation.
has been proved beyond doubt that the barrage is the root cause
of all problems of the river. Though it has come up on the premise
that it would enable farmers to cultivate more paddy, experience
has shown otherwise. For a projected 20 per cent increase in output,
an entire wetland system has been endangered,’’ she said adding
that 65 per cent of Vembamnad lake has shrunk with rampant reclamation.
as big dams are economically unviable and ecologically unsustainable,
so is the Thannermukkam barrage. Take down the barrage and let the
six rivers on its course have a free run,’’ she said.
also took strong exception to the Pathiramanal tourism project,
which according to her, will only increase the amount of garbage
and stagnant water around it. While the dream project will cater
to the rich, it will become inaccessible to commoners, she said.
also cautioned against placing too much emphasis on tourism. ‘‘Tourism
is the most unreliable industry. One little flicker of political
unrest or a bout of contagious diseases can turn tourists away.
Tourism can never become a substitute for a ruined ecosystem,’’
his opening remarks, media personality and anti-nuclear front convener
N. Ram called for a debate on curtailing excessive contempt powers
vested in the judiciary.
regretted that the judiciary in the country which has contributed
much to the freedom of expression, has now begun to show signs of
While taking strength from the doctrine of sky-high powers, the
courts have however begun to entertain frivolous and malicious litigations.
legislatures and the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha should amend the
laws to check encroachment of the judiciary, if necessary,’’ he