With the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal already issuing orders that sand mining would be allowed only after environment impact assessment and sand auditing are done, it would be a Herculean task for the government to give approval to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to mine sand from the Bharathapuzha and Periyar for the construction works of Kochi metro rail.
The DMRC had put forth the demand during the recently-held review meeting of Kochi metro rail, chaired by the Chief Minister.
After hearing the demand, Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed said the issue would be presented before the Cabinet. The minister made it clear that the sanction would be given only after analysing various aspects of the plan.
Meanwhile, environmentalists have already expressed their protest against the decision and said the plan to mine sand from both Periyar and Bharathapuzha rivers would have a detrimental effect on the environment.
“The Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal had earlier ordered that sand mining on river beds requires the clearance of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Hence how can they go on with the proposal for sand mining,” they asked.
The court had earlier ordered that environmental clearance was mandatory for excavation of all minor minerals. The court had observed that “sand mining on either side of the river, upstream and in-stream, is one of the causes for environmental degradation and also a threat to biodiversity. Over the years, India’s rivers and riparian ecology have been badly affected by the alarming rate of unrestricted sand mining”.
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