Govt objects to water bottling plant in Silent Valley

On getting the report of the District Collector on the matter, state Forest Minister Benoy Viswam said no project which would harm the ecology of the tropical rain forest would be allowed.

The Collector's report sumbitted to the minister today stated that the proposed mineral water unit would affect the water table of the locality and cause serious ecological imbalances.

It recommended steps under the Kerala Forest Act to prohibit "illegal activities" in the the buffer zone.According to media reports, the company had plans to extract 20,000 litres per day by the plant coming up on the banks of Karuvarathodu, a tributary of the Bhavani river.
The Revene Divisional Officer, who inspected the spot,found two wells dug inside the premises of the plant at a distance of 40 metres from the stream.

The official alsocould not ascertain the veracity of permit and lincences of the owners as no representative of the company turned up with records."Protecting Silent Valley is the utmost priority of the Government. No commercial interest would be allowed to take precdence over it", Viswam said.

Silent Valley, one of the few surviving tropical rain forests of the world located in Palakkad distirict, was declared a National Park 26 years back after a prolonged agitation by environmental groups against the plans to set up a major hydro electric project there.

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