: Thirty-five major drinking-water projects, which will benefit 35 lakh people, will be commissioned this year, Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran has said.
Mr. Premachandran, while replying to questions in the Assembly on Thursday, said 43 lift irrigation projects would be revamped at a cost of Rs.108 crore this year.
He said about 80 per cent of the wells in the State were polluted. Steps had been taken to frame legislation for protecting river basins and forming an authority for conserving wetlands. A permanent mechanism has been envisaged preventing pollution of the 44 rivers in the State.
He said a water card system would be introduced and mobile laboratories launched for testing and maintaining the quality of drinking water. The cards would have details of the quality of drinking water in each locality. The pilot project would be launched in Kozhikode.
Formalities for setting up a State river basin authority and six river basin boards with statutory powers under the authority were in the final stage. Health and Social Welfare Minister P.K. Sreemathy said that considering the job opportunities in the paramedical sector, the government had decided to give permission for setting up colleges which had infrastructure and meet the norms.
Industries Minister Elamaram Karim said the Kerala State Industries Development Corporation and Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd. would enter into a joint venture for setting up a trade and convention centre on 12 hectares of land owned by the latter. The corporation was preparing a feasibility report for the project.