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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 19 June 2024 7.19 PM IST

Nilakkal littered with plastic waste despite HC ban

plastic

SABARIMALA: Sabarimala's Nilakkal, where there is a total plastic ban, is littered with plastics. Water and juice are sold in plastic bottles and sweets in plastic covers. There is no inspection to check this. There is a High Court order that plastic should not be allowed even inside Irumudikattu.

The High Court has directed that the ban on plastic be strictly enforced from Nilakkal to Sannidhanam. The court reiterated the 2015 order in 2018. The court did not relent despite the special commissioner's request to allow the use of gloves, masks and sanitizer bottles in Sabarimala during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Devaswom Board provides water to the pilgrims through pipes and directly in Sannidhanam and Pampa, avoiding bottled water and soft drinks. But in Nilakkal, loads of bottled water are sold in every other shop. After drinking the water, people throw away plastic bottles in the Sabarimala forest, part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Snacks can also be found along the way. Plastic toys are also sold in these places.

40 crores business

Bottled water and soft drinks are being carried and sold at the Nilakkal KSRTC stand and parking area. A bottle of water is charged up to 40 rupees depending on the rush. As per estimates, business of Rs 5 crores has taken place during the Mandala season alone.

Auction conditions violated

The Devaswom Board allows the shops at Nilakkal, Pampa and Sannidhanam through auction. Auctions are held after each shop is informed in advance of what is to be sold. The condition is that bottled water should not be sold. The Sabarimala Special Commissioner should ensure that the court order is strictly implemented. Devaswom vigilance, police and forest department turn a blind eye in this regard.

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TAGS: NILAKKAL, PLASTIC, WASTE, BAN
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