THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The contentious issue of illegal mining at Mookunnimala has once again come to the fore with the Mookunnimala Samrakshana Samithi activists alleging inaction on the part of the authorities in checking the illegal quarries and the police claiming that mining activities have been stopped at quarries against which stop memo has been issued.
In two separate orders, the High Court had asked the District Geology Office to verify if quarrying operation was going on based on valid permit. However, the Samithi activists said that no official from the Geology Department, police, village or taluk office visited the place.
In an order dated October 27 on a petition filed by K V Rajeev of Edakkodu near Pravachambalam, the High Court had directed the District Geologist Office to verify if the quarrying operation of the land mentioned in the petition was based on valid permit.
And if the said quarry unit was not having any valid permit, all quarrying activities should be stopped.
However, activist Rajeev said that the authorities had not visited the unit. He alleged that blasts could be heard from the hills at frequent intervals. Though several complaints have been registered with the police and also the District Geology Office, they have not taken the pain to come here, he said and alleged that there was a nexus between the quarry mafia and the officials.
In another petition filed by Latha Preeth against one of the quarry majors, the High Court, in its September 22 order, had asked the District Geology Office to take action against the quarry as it did not have any Environment Clearance. As per the order, the District Geologist sent a letter (October 28) along with stop memo to the Nemon Circle Inspector, directing to stop the quarry activities. However, the Samara Samithi leaders allege that no action has been taken till now and mining was going on.
‘’Mining activities are going on between 5 am and 9 am. Though we have given many complaints, no action has come forth from the Nemom CI,’’ Latha Preeth said and added that she had given another complaint to the DGP and the District Police Chief against the Nemom CI for not taking any action despite the stop memo.
However, Nemom CI Ajay Kumar refuted the allegations and claimed that no mining activity was going on in the quarries where stop memo has been issued.
“We received a stop memo from the District Geologist against K K Rocks on October 28. The same day itself, all mining activities were stopped in the quarry,’’ he said.
Claiming that no mining activity was going on there at the present moment, he said, ‘’As many complaints have come up against the quarry, I have sent a letter to the senior geologist to visit the place and inspect if any mining activities are going on.’’
He added that it was the Geology Department that was the authoritative body to inspect the quarries.