This tiny coastal Kerala village is set to disappear because of mining; govt unmoved
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9: Kerala is in the headlines for a number of reasons and one of them being the dissent of the residents of Alappad, a tiny coastal village in the district of Kollam in South Kerala.
The reason for their anger is that the village is slowly disappearing because of allegedly illegal mining activities and the residents have launched a 'Save Alappad' campaign which has crossed over 100 days now, the Quint reported.
Maps from 1955 show that Alappad once had covered an area of 89 square kilometres and six decades later, that area has shrunk to just seven square kilometres. According to the local residents, reckless mining activities have caused brisk land erosion, posing danger to the settlement's existence.
The coastal village is sandwiched between the Arabian Sea on one side and an inland lake on the other and if the land erosion is not arrested, the two water bodies that are only 30 metres apart now would soon merge, leaving the village alive only in the pages of history.
Spearheading the fight to save the settlement is a septuagenarian named K Chandra Das who was quoted by the Quint as saying: "Our experiences have made us understand that our land has shrunk due to mining activities alone, no matter what others say."
The state government, however, is in no mood to budge. As per the report, there are two PSUs - Indian Rare Earth Ltd owned by the Centre and the Kerala State Metals and Minerals Ltd of the state - that are permitted to mine in the area.
According to the protesters, the Kerala government has strongly said that it has secured environmental clearances and will continue mining in the area.
The activists counter by saying that the mining firms do not have any permission from the Pollution Control Board and the activities they have undertaken are illegal.
On February 5, the New Indian Express cited Kerala's Industries Minister EP Jayarajan as saying that the state government has no plan to suspend mining activities in the area.
He also told the daily that mineral sand is as precious to Alappad as petroleum is to the Gulf countries and the state has potential to earn crores of rupees from it and termed any effort to oppose the mining can be seen as an act sabotaging the state's industrial growth.
On Thursday, February 7, Jayarajan also said a committee comprising MLAs and the district collection has been set up to study the issue related to mining in Alappad, the NIE reported.