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Kerala CM Addresses Mass Fish Deaths in Periyar River

The Chief Minister was responding to a query by opposition UDF MLA T J Vinod pertaining to any action taken against those allegedly responsible for the fish deaths.

By Newsd
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In a crucial address to the Kerala assembly on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan clarified that the recent mass deaths of fish in the Periyar River were caused by low dissolved oxygen levels rather than chemical waste discharge from nearby factories.

The Chief Minister was responding to a query by opposition UDF MLA T J Vinod pertaining to any action taken against those allegedly responsible for the fish deaths. Vijayan cited a State Pollution Control Board (PCB) inspection, which revealed that water samples had insufficient dissolved oxygen levels for fish survival.

Vijayan revealed that the discharge of oxygen-poor water was caused when the Pathalam regulator-cum-bridge shutters were opened following heavy rains. He assured the House that no evidence of chemical waste discharge was found, based on initial probe results. However, the detailed findings from the PCB and the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) are still pending.

The Chief Minister also addressed the financial losses suffered by fish farmers, estimating them to be around Rs 13.56 crore. He mentioned that compensation recommendations are awaited and will be reviewed for appropriate action.

Mass fish deaths were reported on May 21 in the farms across panchayats near the Periyar River, creating significant concern. The state government has since deliberated on short and long-term measures to prevent such incidents.

Short-term actions include establishing protocols for opening the Pathalam regulator-cum-bridge and installing biofilters on industrial units along the river banks. Long-term plans aim at protecting and reclaiming the Periyar River and potentially establishing a river-related authority, as stated by State Industries Minister P Rajeev last month.

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