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Giving relief to hillocks, dredged spoil from Ashtamudi Lake to be used for NH 66 works

Posted on March 20, 2024

In a move that is expected to reduce the pressure on hillocks, the State government has given permission to use the dredged soil, sludge, and spoil from Ashtamudi Lake for the construction of National Highway 66 development works in the State. The dredged material would be given to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) free of charge, as the materials can only be used for filling purposes during construction.

This is expected to reduce the pressure on hills to some extent, as the companies awarded the work for the NH development works have been sourcing soil for the construction after razing hillocks so far. The State accorded permission to the NHAI to meet its rising demand for soil by giving the dredged spoil to the companies involved in the work, as the State would get a slew of benefits by giving this to the road works.

Several benefits

According to State government officials, first and foremost, razing of hillocks for soil can be avoided. Second, the water-holding capacity of Ashtamudi Lake, the second-largest estuarine system in Kerala with an area of 61.4 square kilometres, can be increased considerably through the dredging process. Third, the State will not have to bear the expense required for the dredging, as it would be the responsibility of the contractors appointed by the NHAI. Fourth, the State has been finding it difficult to dispose of the dredged soil from waterbodies of late following strict regulations and no takers for this spoil for construction purposes.

The State government has also exempted the dredged spoil from any royalty and seigniorage charges by the Mining and Geology department and Revenue department, respectively.

The test report on the dredged soil by the Kerala Engineering Research Institute has confirmed the presence of salinity and the residue of shells. Hence, it cannot be used for construction purposes, and it can be used only for filling purposes. The NHAI officials have also confirmed that the dredged soil has to be washed before being used for construction purposes.

In marked areas

Dredging would be undertaken only in the areas marked with buoys through which national waterways cut through the lake. Approximately, an area of 18 kilometres in length with a width of around 50 to 60 metres would be subjected to dredging.

The companies involved in the dredging will require around ₹487.03 for dredging a cubic metre of soil, and the transportation cost for the same will be around ₹212 up to 5 kilometres. Against this backdrop, the State decided to avoid charging a price for the dredged spoil.


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