THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Over 300 people staged demonstration in front of Pallichal panchayat office raising voice against its alleged support to quarry mafia at Mookkunnimala. Ahead of the agitation, protesters under the banner of Mookunnimala Samrakshana Samithi took out a march to the panchayat office.
Environmentalists, political party leaders and samara samithi leaders addressed the agitation that was held in front of the panchayat office on Saturday. Academician Achutsankar while addressing the agitators alleged that the panchayat is not using its powers in favour of common man but is helping the quarry mafia. Samara Samithi leaders Gopi Pillai, Mohankumar and Surendra Kumar also expressed their dissent over the panchayat’s move that have helped the quarry mafia.
They alleged that the stop memo issued by the panchayat would not have been stayed by the court if it had taken a strong stand. Panchayats have been formed to protect the interest of the people, but Pallichal panchayat only protects the interest of the quarry mafia, they alleged.
The leaders also alleged that the panchayat committee has not taken any action against the secretary who had issued the licenses even after the Mining and Geology Department was against it.
It is also alleged that the secretary gave the license with the approval of the panchayat members, who are hand-in-glove with the quarry mafia.
During the protest, the agitators also called for beginning the Total Station Survey at Mookunnimala to assess the actual quantum of loss incurred due to illegal quarrying activities. It is alleged that the Vigilance Department which was to conduct the survey could not begin the work since illegal quarry activities are still gong on in the region.
Some of those who spoke at the agitation highlighted the pathetic state of Arikkadamukku-Mookkunnimala road, which lies in a dilapidated condition since last three years allegedly due to the heavy traffic to the quarries.
The Samara Samithi has been agitating for past many years. The samithi members had recently taken out a march to the official residence of the Speaker.